October was dull, cool and unsettled for most of the UK, and notably wet in some areas, continuing a pattern prevalent across much of the country since early spring.Overcast conditions at CEH's River Lambourn  observatory on October 19 2012

Total UK rainfall for the month was slightly above average, but there were marked spatial variations. Much of the rainfall was sustained and heavy, with localised flash flooding in some places, but separated by drier interludes. The month also saw significant early snowfall in eastern Scotland and parts of northern England on the 26th.

The above analysis is contained within the latest monthly hydrological summary (for October 2012) produced by the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme, operated by the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in conjunction with the NERC British Geological Survey.

Jamie Hannaford, from CEH, said, "Entering the late autumn/winter period, typically the main season for replenishment, but also when flooding is most likely, the water resource outlook is healthier than at the equivalent time in any of the last 25 years at least, due to the exceptional rainfall accumulated since April."

With soils already saturated across much of the UK, the responsive catchments are vulnerable to fluvial flooding, he said, whilst anomalously high groundwater levels have increased the likelihood of groundwater flooding in susceptible areas, particularly in the southern Chalk.

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology jointly operates the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme (NHMP) 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 National River Flow archive. The NHMP has a remit to analyse major flood and drought events in the UK and analyse long term trends in UK hydrological data. The Programme was set up in 1988 and relies on the active co-operation of measuring authorities throughout the UK.

Additional information

Read the full October 2012 Hydrological Summary for the UK [PDF, 4.88mb]

Hydrological summary archive - dating back to December 1988

Details of the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme

CEH’s Water Science Programme

Datasets hosted by CEH: National River Flow Archive, National Water Archive and others

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.

If you wish to reproduce figures from the Monthly Hydrological Summary please respect the copyright credits contained within the document.




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