Record-breaking dry spring

March daffodils in St James Park, London

2 June 2011 - This spring has been the driest for more than 20 years in some areas, provisional Met Office figures show.

Across England and Wales spring rainfall was 86.9 mm, which is 45% of the long-term average. This is the second driest spring since 1910 and the driest since 1990, which had 85 mm of rain.

East Anglia was the driest district in the UK with just 28.1 mm of rain, only 21% of the long-term average. The lack of rain in East Anglia made it the driest for 101 years, beating the previous record of 51.9 mm in 1996.

South East and central southern England had 49.4 mm of rain, only 30% of the long-term average- making it the driest spring on record for 101 years, beating the previous record of 57.3 mm in 1976.

However, in contrast, parts of north and west Scotland have had a wet season, with Argyllshire recording 577.6 mm of rain, well above the long-term average of 422 mm.

This table shows rainfall figures for Spring 2011 across the UK.

LocationActual (mm) 1 March to 31 MayPercentage of 1971 to 2000 averageLong term spring average (mm)
UK184.880 %231.7
England77.6 43 %179.4
Northern Ireland192.8 83 %232.2
Scotland371.7 122 %304.1
Wales145 51 %285.4

For statistical purposes, the meteorological spring is the combined months of March, April and May and provisional figures are from 1 March to 31 May.

The big differences in rainfall pattern across the UK, illustrate just how varied the weather can be across the country. 'Blocked' weather patterns have kept many southern and eastern counties dry, but Atlantic weather systems and their rain-bearing fronts have affected regions further north and west.

Spring featured high temperatures especially during April, helping to make it one of the warmest springs on record. Mean temperature across the UK was 9.1 ºC, equalling Spring 2007 - the warmest on record.

Contact information

Met Office Press Office: +44 (0)1392 886655

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Last updated: 2 June 2011