Non-coastal flood events in the UK are usually associated with extreme rainfall and can last from minutes to weeks. Efficient engagement and mitigation of flood risk requires accurate and reliable precipitation forecasts as inputs to flood risk models. We constructed an archive of British Rainfall data from 1866 to the present day to improve our understanding of historical extreme rainfall events. The relationship between record rainfall and flooding is nonlinear and uncertain, implying that probabilistic forecasts of rainfall are required. We developed an objective classification scheme of extreme rainfall events consisting of eight types, analysed extreme rainfall events and produced probabilistic forecasts by combining statistical techniques with the outputs of ensemble predictions from a numerical weather predictions model.