April already wettest in a century

An aerial photo of flooded fields and railway line

30 April 2012 - This April is the wettest in the UK in records which date back to 1910, according to early Met Office figures to the 29th of the month.

This April is the wettest in the UK in records which date back to 1910, according to early Met Office figures to the 29th of the month.

Further rain is to come overnight tonight as outbreaks of heavy and possibly thundery rain affect southern England and Wales, so final rainfall figures for the month will change.

However, the UK has already seen 121.8 mm of rain so far - significantly more than the 69.6 mm you would normally expect for the month and beating the previous record of 120.3 mm set in 2000.

Many Met Office observation sites across the UK have broken their individual rainfall records, with six stations so far having seen more than three times their usual monthly average.

Liscombe in Somerset has seen the most rainfall, with 273.8 mm of rain - more than three times the 86.4mm average.

At the other extreme, Prestwick in Ayrshire has seen just 39.2 mm of rain and Skye has had just over half of its monthly rainfall - with 52 mm of its 99.5 mm average.

April has been in stark contrast to March, which was the fifth driest on record for the UK with 36.4 mm of rain (comparing to the average of 95.9 mm).

In another reversal of the norm, this April has also been cooler on average than March - the first time this has happened since 1998.

Figures which go up to 25th of this month show April's mean temperature is 6.1 °C compared to March's 7.7 °C.

No weather station across the UK has registered a temperature of 20 °C or above this month, which is the first time this has happened since 2006 (and 1989 before that). Again, this is in contrast to March where the 20 °C barrier was broken regularly.

Weather during these two contrasting and distinctly non-average months has been heavily influenced by the position of the jet-stream. In March it brought prolonged settled and unusually warm weather, but a shift in the jet stream's track has brought in unsettled weather for April.

Other interesting facts for April 2012:

  •  Much of the rainfall has been focused on the south of the UK, with England seeing more rainfall than Scotland.
  •  Despite the heavy rain experienced this month, sunshine amounts so far this month have not been far off the average.

Monthly figures for the whole of April 2012 will be available later this week.

RAINFALL AMOUNTS and PERCENTAGES OF NORMAL 1-29 April 2012 compared with 1971-2000 averages for the whole of April

Area

Actual (mm)

% of 1971-2000
average

Previous April record
Amount (mm)

Year

UK

121.8*

175

120.3

2000

England

127.6

224

130.2

2000

Wales

147.9

173

193.9

1920

Scotland

115.2

133

191.1

1947

N Ireland

67.0

94

144.2

1961

England & Wales

130.4

214

132.6

2000

England N

130.6*

209

122.8

2000

England S

126.0

234

134.1

2000

Scotland N

116.4

123

214.1

1947

Scotland E

141.4

203

152

1934

Scotland W

85.9

92

213.3

1947

England E & NE

136.6*

250

135

2000

England NW & Wales N

116.0

153

146.3

1920

Midlands

129.4

227

136.6

2000

East Anglia

103.0

227

117.8

1998

England SW & Wales S

159.4

212

163.9

2000

England SE & Central S

124.8

237

145.3

2000

* Denotes a new record

Contact information

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

E-mail: Press Office

Met Office Customer Centre: 01392 885680

If you're outside the UK: +44 1392 885680

Last updated: 2 May 2012