Although February was a cold and relatively dry month, there is a continuing risk of groundwater flooding in vulnerable areas, according to the latest update to the UK's most authoritative analysis of water resources status.
Precipitation totals fell below 50% in a few areas and, at the national scale, February was the driest month since March 2012. Nonetheless, winter (December-February) rainfall totals were generally above average, and medium term (3-12 months) accumulations remain exceptionally high.
The analysis is contained in the monthly hydrological summary for the UK, covering the month of February 2013. The monthly summaries are produced by the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme, operated by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in conjunction with the British Geological Survey.
The latest Monthly Hydrological Summary for the UK also gives details of
- Reservoir stocks: despite modest replenishments in the latter half of the month, more than three-quarters of the index reservoirs across the UK were within 5% of capacity in late February.
- River flows: flood risk remained substantial in the first fortnight but diminished thereafter (many groundwater-fed rivers aside) as runoff rates declined across almost all of the country
- Groundwater: recharge was very limited over the latter half of February but the outstanding November/December rainfall continues to be reflected in the high groundwater levels across most major outcrop areas.
- Precipitation: A few parts of the UK, for example in the Midlands and Northern Ireland, recorded above average February rainfall but most areas reported totals in the 50-90% range. However snowfall is difficult to measure and totals are normally underestimated.
The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology jointly operates the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme (for the UK) in conjunction with the British Geological Survey. NHMP scientists produce the UK Monthly Hydrological Summary which assesses rainfall, river flows, groundwater and reservoir levels. They also operate the UK’s National River Flow archive. The NHMP also has a remit to analyse major flood and drought events in the UK and analyse long term trends in UK hydrological data. The UK Monthly Hydrological Summary is published on, or before, the tenth working day, of the following month.
Read the full February 2013 Hydrological Summary for the UK. [PDF, 1.82MB]
Details of the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme
Media enquiries related to the Hydrological Summaries should be directed to the CEH Press Office. Our scientists can provide explanation and analysis of historic hydrological patterns, possible future scenarios under climate change and scientific understanding of the current situation. We are not able to comment on immediate operational issues.
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