In recent weeks several areas of the UK have seen flooding on a scale that has no close modern parallel for the summer period (normally defined as the months of June, July and August). 

On Friday 13th July, the June 2007 Monthly Hydrological Summary for the UK will be published. This month’s summary will contain a first analysis of the recent floods based on rainfall, river flow, reservoir and groundwater data from around the country. This information is collated by the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme based at our research site in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

Hydrology expert Terry Marsh, who works for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology at Wallingford, said: "The unusual aspect of the events of recent weeks has been the wide spatial extent of heavy rain across England. Although more than a month's rainfall in 24 hours is not an unusual occurrence during a British Summer, with such events having return periods of 4 to 8 years, the spatial and temporal extent of recent rainfall has been almost unprecedented for the summer period.”

Terry added: "In early May soil moisture levels were some of the lowest on record and another dry summer seemed on the cards. We believe that the combined May and June rainfall total is likely to be one of the highest on record. This heavy rain has extended the normal recharge season and allowed groundwater aquifers to fill. It is therefore extremely unlikely that we will see water shortages later this summer."

 

Additional Information

Water Watch [NEEDS NEW INTERNAL LINK] (includes links to the Monthly Hydrological Summaries)

The UK Monthly Hydrological Summary is a water resource assessment produced by the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme operated jointly by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the British Geological Survey. Journalists can request a copy of the Monthly Summary from the CEH press office. 

The National Hydrological Monitoring Programme was set up in 1988: the programme relies on the active co-operation of measuring authorities throughout the UK.

Media enquiries about this work should be directed to the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Press office: Barnaby Smith, tel: 07920 295384 (mobile) or 01491 692439 (Office). Email: cehpress@ceh.ac.uk

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