Britain faces increasingly extreme weather conditions and urgently needs to improve its anti-flood defences and preparations for severe drought, says the Environment Agency.
Its stark conclusion follows detailed analysis of weather patterns, river levels and flooding events in 2012, which revealed that some areas suffered record levels of drought before facing some of the worst flooding ever.
Last year, flooding was recorded on 20% of days and drought on 25% of days, with rivers such as the Tyne, Ouse and Tone going from their record lowest flows to record highest in four months.
"It was an extraordinary year and it serves as a warning for the country that we face a future in which there are likely to be more and more extreme weather events," said Lord (Chris) Smith, the agency's chairman.
"We need, very urgently, to prepare plans to deal with these extremes."
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