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Just how dry has it been? ITV Anglia weather forecaster Aisling Creevey explains all

Dry ground on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

After a weekend of soaring April temperatures, it may feel like a bit of a shock to the system now that temperatures are back to "normal for April".

When we think of soaring temperatures, we think of dry weather and barbecues - and hoping it all coincides with the weekend or the school holidays.

But there is another side to dry weather - its impact on nature.

Nature is in full flight across the UK. The daffodils and snowdrops have already had their season and we moving on to tulips, bluebells and blossoms. Some of the blossoms have already been replaced by small leaf buds. But is it like this everywhere across Anglia?

Well, the statistics so far this year tell an interesting story - although before looking at them you could simply look at your garden and grass.

When we hear the hum of a lawnmower in the distance it normally reminds us that the dark winter nights are coming to an end and the smell of fresh-cut grass signals change.

However, grass will only grow slowly when it's dry and, when it rains, it grows incredibly fast.

For those that tend their gardens, they may have noticed that the grass has not grown as quickly across Anglia so far this season.

Bluebells in bloom in a wood near Braintree in Essex. Credit: Waldo Ferris

Since July last year, November has been the only significant wet month (although February was slightly wetter than normal). Every other month was drier than average.

The winter months of December, January and February together were the driest in East Anglia for more than a decade.

And in the last nine months - July 2016 to March 2017 - the Anglia region has seen just 357 mm of rain (14.1 inches). The average for that period is 480 mm (18.9 inches) - so we are short by 122 mm (4.8 inches)

That's only three-quarters of the usual rainfall or more than two months' worth of missing rain in the past nine.

If we look back further in time, only six of the past eight years in the Anglia region have been drier than normal. Just 2012 and 2014 were wetter.

There has been no significant rain in the Anglia region since March 28 - that's 14 days.

Rainfall is more likely to be below average over the next three months than above average. Credit: Mervyn Wood

The Met Office has just released their contingency forecast – an experimental three-month forecast based on a very new type of science.

It is not a day-to-day forecast but a guidance on potential variance from climatology, for example the possible change from what is typical for UK weather. As the name suggests, it is aimed at contingency planners such as councils looking at road gritting and salt stock.

The latest contingency forecast suggest that it is more likely that rainfall will be below average than above - however it also suggests that there is unlikely to be any extremes, which implies that rainfall may come up just short of normal.

However, if this is the outcome of this forecast what impact will it have? Farmers will be waiting with bated breath.

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