LAST month has been the wettest February on record for UK, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the second wettest – behind February 1990 – for Scotland, according to the Met Office.
It has also been the fifth wettest of any calendar month in a series from 1862 behind only October 1903 (227mm), December 2015 (217mm), November 2009 (215mm), and December 1929 (213mm).
Three named storms crossed the UK during February, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge. The heavy rainfall throughout the month resulted in some severe impacts with many areas flooded including here in the Midlands, particularly in the valleys of the Severn and the Avon where a clean up operation is still in progress.
John Curtin, executive director for Flood Risk Management at the Environment Agency said: “Every flooded home is a personal tragedy, and with a changing climate we will need to become more resilient to flooding.”
This winter – December, January, February – has been the fifth wettest winter on record, dating back to 1862 for the UK as a whole as well as the 5th mildest.
The wet weather has been brought by a very strong jet stream high in the atmosphere which has moved further south than normal bringing a succession of Atlantic storm systems to the UK.
Met Office records show there is a recent trend of increasing rainfall on seasonal and annual timescales.
Since 1998, thee have been six of the ten wettest years on record and while rainfall patterns in the UK have always shown a large range of natural variation, wetter winters is consistent with what the experts expect to happen in the future with continued climate change.
Looking ahead, the weather looks likely to remain rather wet and windy into the middle of March, especially in the north, more settled conditions may start to develop from the south towards the end of the period.
It will be predominantly rather cold with overnight frosts likely during any calmer interludes and only occasional milder days, these being more likely later in the period.