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Wettest UK Winter on record
Blog by Jo Farrow
21st February 2014 10:34

Wettest UK Winter on record

It feels a bit peculiar to be writing about the wettest winter today, as the sun is shining and there are clear blue skies here to start Friday and also over much of England. However, as homes in southern England are still underwater, or drained but soggy and stinky, the figures from the Met. Office come as no surprise.

It has been the wettest winter in the UK since records began over 100 years ago (1910). Wales has seen its most winter rainfall since records began. Meteorological winter runs Dec 1st til Feb 28th, so there is still over a week of rainfall to add to the provisional total issued on Feb 19th. The Met. Office have issued these figures now as the UK figure was just beaten on Feb 18th with a total of 486.8mm , beating the 1995 total of 485.1mm. 1995 and 1915 hold lots of rain records, which are being beaten by 2014’s rain.

Image Crown Copyright Met Office

Rainfall precentage of average 1 Dec 2013 - 19 Feb 2014
The Met Office did issue January figures with NW Scotland being very dry with less than 50% of the average rainfall for Wester Ross, as the heaviest rain was further south. Overall now the NW Scotland is around average, with still 10 days to go.

The next few days are in a more usual winter pattern with the heavy rain moving over N.Ireland and W.Scotland in particular. Eastern Scotland also looks like seeing heavy rain at times so that will bump up those winter totals.

Parts of eastern Scotland have had a very wet winter. The far south of Aberdeenshire has seen twice the average rainfall with some areas likely to total 2.5 times. Eastern Scotland is climatically drier than the west. This year there has often been heavy rain in this area as low pressure systems move across England and Wales, clear into the North Sea and have flung heavy rain along the east coast.

So for England and Wales; Pembrokeshire and many southern counties of England have had nearly twice the amount of rainfall expected at this time of year. There are scattered hefty showers about for the next few days before heavier rain moves in from the NW to end the weekend and another spells of heavy widespread rain for Monday night over southern Britain. All of this will add to the record totals. You can see on the image, the darkest areas are in Hampshire, Surrey, Kent, across Sussex away from the Downs. These areas are likely to have received 2.5 times the amount of winter rainfall and the scenes along the Thames are the visible proof. The area including the Somerset Levels have seen 1.5 to 2x the average rainfall. 

The Met. Office also state that all countries and areas are also on target for a warmer than average winter. Just think, all that precipitation could have been snow (and actually for the Scottish Mountains it was, the ski resorts are well happy)
 

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