DECEMBER was one of the wettest months on record, causing widespread floods across Craven.

But the misery has continued for the elderly residents of Skipton's Shortbank Close, whose homes have been threatened by floodwater four times since Christmas.

They fear further rain this month could be enough to flood their Yorkshire Housing bungalows.

The problem is Shortbank Close is built between two steep slopes and, with the ground saturated, the rain water just runs off the hills and pools outside their bungalows.

They have done their best to prevent their homes being inundated – they have put down a line of sandbags and cut out a shallow drainage channel to divert the water away.

It is a stopgap measure at best. Not surprisingly, the residents want a permanent solution – and who can blame them?

At the moment, they are on tenterhooks every time it rains, worrying that the worst might happen. They are at their "wits' end" and the stress cannot be good for their health.

Forecasters say while weather patterns are constantly changing, there is evidence to suggest 'extreme' days of rainfall may become more frequent over time.

Whatever the cause, we need to act now to make sure we are more able to cope with the vagaries of the British weather.

North Yorkshire Council Council is looking at water management issues, which would help to "slow the flow" of floodwater and, therefore, protect communities by keeping water upstream for as long as possible.

And work has started on Skipton's long-awaited £13.8 million flood relief scheme.

But it is not enough. We need to be far more innovative and have a complete rethink of flood protection and resilience.

We have already had our eighth storm of the winter, and no doubt there will be more to come. It is imperative we are prepared for all the Mother Nature throws at us.