Friday, July 9, 2010

Parched in Scotland

Jenny Fyall in the Scotsman: It began as a rare treat as the blue skies beamed down day after day across Scotland. However, as the rain continued to hold off across much of the country through April, then May and then June, many faces lit up by the sun began to look increasingly gloomy and overcast.

Met Office data shows the country has just been through the driest first half to the year for nearly seven decades, and from farmers to anglers to whisky producers - and communities dependent on dwindling hydro plants to keep the lights on - the drought that has hit Scotland has started to take an unpleasant turn.

Atlantic weather systems that cross the UK, which usually bring bands of rain to western Scotland, have been absent this year, causing the dry conditions which have seen Scotland experience its driest January to June since 1941. There have only been four drier years since records began in 1910. Across Scotland, rainfall in June was 42 per cent of the monthly average, at 36mm.

Farmers have been left fretting over their crops, amid warnings of higher priced vegetables on supermarket shelves this year. Anglers heading to Scotland have been disappointed by low flows in rivers, with signs salmon and sea trout are delaying their annual migration until water levels rise….

Ellisland farm, Nithsdale, Dumfries, Scotland, circa 1900

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