This February was the wettest one since records began

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 1:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 1:22 pm

Last month was the wettest February in the UK since records began in 1862, according to the Met Office. The country received an average of 209.1mm of rainfall - 237 per cent above the average for the month between 1981 and 2010.

During the course of the month, the UK was hit with three named storms - Ciara, Dennis and Jorge, which all brought with them a vast volume of rain. The storms also resulted in many areas being flooded, including parts of Yorkshire, Wales and the Midlands.

According to the BBC, Storm Dennis delivered the second highest UK average daily total in a dataset that dates back to 1891. Ciara and Jorge also dropped enough rain to feature in the top 0.5 per cent of days for UK average rainfall.

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'Exceptionally rare'

"Having three such widespread extreme rainfall events in the same calendar month is exceptionally rare," said Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the National Climate information Centre.

"Met Office ground-breaking research has contributed to a growing body of evidence that [suggests] extreme rainfall is a significant risk factor for the UK, and that climate change has increased the likelihood of extreme rainfall events."

Why has it been so wet recently?

The Met Office explained that the recent wet weather has been due to a very strong jet stream high in the atmosphere, that has also been further south than normal. This has allowed a succession of Atlantic storm systems to cross the UK, including Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge.

According to the Met Office, “Since 1998, we have seen six of the 10 wettest years on record. However, rainfall patterns in the UK have always shown a large range of natural variation, which makes it more difficult to unambiguously identify long term trends linked to climate change.”

“Wetter winters have been observed and is consistent with what we expect to happen in the future with continued climate change.”

Looking ahead

Looking forward, the weather looks likely to remain rather wet and windy into the middle of March, especially in the north of the UK. More settled conditions may start to develop from the south, towards the end of the month, the Met Office reports.

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.