Sunday, April 29, 2012

UK drought worsened in April despite record rains

Paul Cahalan in the Independent (UK): Despite flash floods and gale-force winds battering the country, with more expected this weekend, Britain's drought worsened last week – because rain is falling in the wrong months. 
The UK remains on course for one of the wettest Aprils on record, with most of the country, with the exception of northern Scotland, today due to see 70mph winds and huge downpours – up to 40mm of rain in places – causing yet more flooding, traffic chaos and power cuts. 
Yesterday, the Met Office issued an amber alert – its second-highest warning, meaning "be prepared" – for parts of the West Midlands. And last night, the Environment Agency (EA) warned of the possibility of localised flooding across parts of the South-west, South-east and Midlands, the east of England, and Wales. 
Conditions are expected to improve next week, but the deluge will make this month one of the wettest Aprils since reliable records began in 1910. Some 97mm of rain fell between 1 and 25 April, the Met Office said, the ninth wettest on record. The wettest April was in 2000, when 142.6mm fell. April's average is just 67mm. 
The irony that many of the areas at risk of floods – the South-east, East Anglia, the Midlands, the South-west, and South and East Yorkshire – are currently in a state of drought after two unusually dry winters has not been missed.
A squall, by James Gillray, 1810

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