UK & World News
We're Drenched, So Why Is There A Drought?
It's official - this April has been the wettest on record across the UK. Up to the 29th of the month 121.8mm of rain was recorded, well above the monthly average of 69.6mm, and beating the previous record of 120.3mm set in 2000.
Some parts have seen around three times their monthly average - a significant amount.
Liscombe in Somerset was the wettest with a staggering 273.8mm of rain (almost 11in) compared to the average of 86.4mm.
How can we have seen so much of the wet stuff and yet still have hosepipe bans?
You have to look at the weather we have experienced over the past 24 months to see why we are currently in an official drought.
For most of the past two years we have seen below average rainfall, this includes two winter periods. Importantly winter rainfall is needed to recharge our longer term sources of water such as groundwater and reservoirs.
Through the warmer spring and summer months rainfall is lost to some extent through higher rates of evaporation and rapid growth of plants and trees draws up moisture from the soil too.
Recent rain will no doubt have helped gardeners and growers, water butts will be filled giving weeks of useful watering. Trees and plants will be thriving. However, it will take months of average or above average rainfall to really help - ideally including a wet winter.
We are now into May and already we have been deluged by several hours of persistent rain which has brought dangerous driving conditions and further flooding concerns.
How will the rest of the month pan out?
After another spell of heavy rain across southeast Britain during Wednesday night and Thursday it looks as though there will be some drier periods into the weekend - although with the risk of further spells of rain in the south.
Over the coming weeks the trend is an unsettled one for much of Britain and Ireland, and probably a fairly cool one.
As for the summer there are no reliable long range forecasts - we will have to wait and see what's in store.