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Going back to 1959, this was a long dry summer, hot in parts and one to remember - at the time I was living just south of Grimsby and recall that during the spring and early summer we had a number of easterlies bringing in the North Sea Stratus, in similar manner to what we are having now.

As far as I recall, this was following a snowless winter, though there were some episodes of cloudy highs, with a more or less even low temperature, interspersed wit Atlantic incursions, one of which brought in some advection fog.

I recall this mainly because from February to March I was taking my glider course with the ATC at Kirton in Lindsey and it was only towards the end of this that we were able to get anything like any lift in the shape of weakfish thermals. 

The spring developed into summer when I was taking my 'O' Levels still with settled weather but with sunshine and some heat developing. 

The next landmark I recall is when we travelled to our Annual ATC camp at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland, during the first half of September.  

We travelled by train from east to west, over the Pennines, to Liverpool. 

I recall that there was brown grass all the way across and I believe we went past the Lady Bower Dam, where the levels of the lake had lowered quite considerably.

This was followed by a night crossing on the ferry to arrive at Belfast Dock in the morning, thence being picked up and taken to RAF Aldergrove, looking in amazement at GREEN grass! It was not just green but really a rich emerald shade, or perhaps it was my perception after leaving the land of brown grass but clearly not affected by the drought in the same manner as the mainland. 

The fine spell lasted well into the autumn, to about the second week of October. 

It was preceded by gusts of wind blowing the dust about, to be followed after a few hours by the rain.

It must have been one of the driest summers on record. 

Nothing sticks in my mind about the rest of the year but I believe it was business as usual typical British weather with nothing really to write home about. 

It seems that sometimes we get strong westerly activity and at other times weak. The winter of 1962/63 being a casse in point.

The weak allows the highs to develop mostly to our east, but sometimes from the Azores to give us long spells of settled weather, hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

Now this year, since the end of February we appear to have been in such a situation with, I suspect, anti cyclonic activity above average, which led us to the Beast from the East, say on about two and a half occasions in March, then changing to near record warmth, 28.5C at Watford in April. 

The £64,000 question is, what will the weather gods do now, will the westerlies remain weak allowing the best summer for quite some years with an associated draught, or will the jet stream find those tram lines which lead directly to the UK? 

 

  

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We are well overdue a drought .The big droughts in my memory being 1976 1984 1989 1995 and 1996.There has been nothing in comparison since.

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I don't think there will be a drought - we haven't had any prolonged dry spells for a while now. May has obviously been pretty dry, but autumn and winter weren't bone dry enough for this summer to come under drought restrictions.

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Posted (edited)

 

4 hours ago, mb018538 said:

I don't think there will be a drought - we haven't had any prolonged dry spells for a while now. May has obviously been pretty dry, but autumn and winter weren't bone dry enough for this summer to come under drought restrictions.

March and April were wet overall as well. 

Edited by Weather-history

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Posted (edited)

If anything, the last 12 months have been rather wet. From 24th May 2017 - 23rd May 2018 we've had 788.6mm, which is 120% of the 1981-2010 average.

I wouldn't say we were overdue a dry period though, as 1st March 2011 - 29th February 2012 saw only 405.8mm (62%) - and 2011 was locally the driest year since 1921.

Edited by reef

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Posted (edited)

20 years since the last major drought which was 1995 to 1997. I believe major ones come round once every 20 years or so,  1955, 1975/6, 1995/6/7, 2018?? 

 

I think the period Jan 2010 - Feb 2012 fell in the bracket of a lengthy dry period, despite a rather near average period of rain in the summer, autumn and early winter of 2011/2012.

The Autumn 1988 - Summer 1992 was a very lengthy dry period interspersed with the odd wetter season such as Spring 1992. The winters of 88/89 and 89/90 were very dry over much of England and Wales with the jetstream far to the north, though Scotland was wet. Summer 89 and 90 were very dry. Winter 91/92 was unusually dry.

Whether we are entering once again a drier than average period is far too early to call, its only been the last 4-5 weeks have been notably dry. April, May 1980 were two very dry months but followed and preceded by near average rainfall.

 

 

Edited by damianslaw
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43 minutes ago, 38.5*C said:

20 years since the last major drought which was 1995 to 1997. I believe major ones come round once every 20 years or so,  1955, 1975/6, 1995/6/7, 2018?? 

Not this time for me, late July and August will see to that.

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A drought is still possible this summer if the temperatures are high which would cause high evaporation rates, even if we did have a wet April and March. I think 2003 experienced something similar in terms of high evaporation rates but Idk.

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As most have said winter and early spring weren’t particularly dry and in fact quite wet! It was only a few weeks ago that the fields were crying out for some prolonged dry weather. 

The current dry spell although is affecting the whole of the country is very common in the southeast and we get away from droughts most years these days. Unless there is a very hot summer I don’t expect restrictions to come into force or anything.

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In fact water restrictions shouldn't be coming into force until at least 2020 with the amount of rain the country had in the first 4 months of the year

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For a drought in this country you really need at least 2 consecutive dry winters. That is what led to the drought conditions in 2012, it had been building up with dry conditions and dry winters since 2010  Of course as soon as they announced the hosepipe bans it started jaffa cakesing it down and we had the wettest summer in 100 years and second wettest year on record...

March/April was pretty wet this year, especially in the SE which usually suffers the most from droughts.

2017 on average was slightly below average but not significantly so. Similar story in 2016. A bit variable with some peaks and troughs in rainfall but no particularly sustained periods of hot and dry weather and both summers were unexceptional.

Fortunately our climate isn't like somewhere like California where they get locked into patterns of extreme weather (years of drought followed by exceptional persistent heavy rains and flooding).

 

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Posted (edited)

Just checked the reservoir levels and for the Big 5 in South West Water 4 are at 93% plus. Only Burrator is down at 81% giving a overall of 95.1%.

 

Given I saw Burrator down in the 20s% back in 1995 with Fernworthy ( not on the list) dangerously low I think we can safely say no drought here this Summer! 

Edited by philglossop

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Wouldn't mind a drought in the North West. This continued dry spell is fantastic.

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Posted (edited)

Water shortages warning on hottest day of the year

Some Midlands counties see supplies cut as a result of high demand, prompting the setting up of bottled water collection points.

Quote

Water companies are asking customers to put away their garden sprinklers, take short showers instead of baths and avoid using hoses to water plants as the heatwave continues across the UK.

Porthmadog in northwest Wales has again seen the hottest temperature of the year so far as the mercury soared to 32.6C (90.6F). Yesterday it recorded 31.9C (89.4F).

Water companies said there has been a huge spike in demand for water at morning and evening peak times which means billions more litres of water have to be pumped into the system.

Customers in some areas will see a drop in their water pressure unless people make some simple changes to the way they use water, industry body Water UK warned.

Some parts of Staffordshire and Shropshire have seen supplies temporarily interrupted as a result of the high demand, prompting Severn Water to set up bottled water collection points "as a precaution".

 

1

https://news.sky.com/story/water-shortages-warning-on-hottest-day-of-the-year-11419923

Edited by Summer Sun

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Posted (edited)

Reservoir levels are fine, in fact, some are above average in the south. The grass is dying but we had a wet Autumn and Winter so no issues!

But once again, the water companies as private firms are failing to provide a product that people are paying for. What a surprise. Instead of asking consumers to cut usage, why not adequately prepare your infrastructure to cope with hot weather...

Edited by Nick L
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We are of grid for water and well gauge is at the same level as last year 

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According to United Utilities, reservoir levels in the Pennines are about 60%, not desperately low but down on an average year and given the forecast of more warm weather and little sign of rain i’d Imagine a hosepipe ban could be on the cards for North West England later in the summer.

still a far cry from 1976, 1984 and 1995 though.

 

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And surely we need this Winter and next to be dry Winter's before we are even talking about drought conditions anyway.

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Posted (edited)

Looking Ok here, according to South West Water as expected Burrator is down to 50% and now below 1995 levels, but the bigger reservoirs are at 80/85% so no real danger here. Can’t see a hosepipe ban with levels that good tbh.

Obviously that could change if this stunning spell lasts. But agreed the grass is dying here as well so looking like the summer of 2003/1995 already 

Edited by philglossop

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NI Water to introduce ‘hose pipe’ ban as heatwave continues

Quote

 

Northern Ireland Water will introduce a hosepipe ban from this weekend to stop any interruptions to supplies.

The hot weather is expected to last with the sun set to shine into the weekend across most of the UK, as water companies said usage had been "significantly more" than normal.

NI Water chief executive Sara Venning said the company was appealing to customers to stop non-essential use, as hoses and sprinklers were causing strain on supplies.

She said: "In recent days our treatment works have been operating at near maximum levels with over 700 million litres of water being put into the network, which is some 25% more than is normal for this time of the year.

 

http://www.itv.com/news/utv/2018-06-29/ni-water-to-introduce-hose-pipe-ban-as-heatwave-continues/

 

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Water shortage 'critical' following UK and Ireland heatwave

 

Quote

 

Water shortages are being reported across the UK and Ireland, with one company warning it is in a "critical" situation.

Irish Water is "very concerned" about the possibility of having to impose longer-term water restrictions if the warm weather continues into the autumn with lower-than-normal rainfall.

Water companies around the UK have experienced a huge spike in demand during morning and evening peak times due to the current heatwave.

Some parts of Staffordshire and Shropshire have seen supplies temporarily interrupted, prompting Severn Water to set up bottled water collection points "as a precaution".

 

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22 hours ago, Weather26 said:

And surely we need this Winter and next to be dry Winter's before we are even talking about drought conditions anyway.

Do you actually know what a drought is?

 

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People tend to mention 1976 but forget that 1975 was a dry year throughout and the winter between was also unusually dry for many areas.
That's why the water situation wa already getting critical by July in '76
This year there won't be widespread supply shortages but we will be needing a decent top up through winter to be OK with a more average period next year.

There's a serious agricultural drought  already with much of the country seeing grass and crop growth practically halted except where irrigation is possible - mainly potato growing areas and farms with their own storage.
Compared to 1976 there is more irrigation - and on-farm reservoirs storing winter rain especially in arable areas.
Autumn sown crops are more popular now (due to better weed control products mainly).  
Anything sown in Spring this year will be struggling to establish and yields will be patchy at best.
The Autumn sown crops will be affected too, but will mostly be able to go through more normal growth stages, but premature ripening will typically cause a percentage of grain with poor bushel weights - i.e. shrivelled grains with little inside the husk.  
 

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On 23/05/2018 at 11:27, mb018538 said:

I don't think there will be a drought - we haven't had any prolonged dry spells for a while now. May has obviously been pretty dry, but autumn and winter weren't bone dry enough for this summer to come under drought restrictions.

Yes but the water companies scream drought very early these days.
The main reason I recon is that its the same amount of water feeding hundreds of thousands more homes and businesses than say the 70/80s and as such there it is used up far quicker.

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I've always thought of a 'drought' as being a certain length of time without any measurable rainfall...if that is indeed the case, many parts of the country will be (if some aren't already?) in a drought by next weekend...?

The problem with 1976 wasn't that summer's drought per se, but that the prevailing dryness of preceding seasons had left reservoir-levels already dangerously low. We don't have that particular problem this year, but a continuation of current weather-patterns will nonetheless cause drought.

And, in any case, a pipeline can only carry/deliver so much water?

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