Summer hosepipe ban 'almost inevitable' says Reading University weather expert

Credit: PA/Wires

A hosepipe ban this summer is 'almost inevitable' according to weather experts after last month was recorded as the driest February in England in 30 years.

Scientists at the University of Reading's Meteorology department say data shows it was also the driest February in Reading for 90 years, with only 3.4mm of rain received since mid-January.

Now it's claimed water restrictions ‘almost inevitable’ if the dry spell continues.

Dr Stephen Burt of the University’s Department of Meteorology, found that only three Februarys were drier since records began in 1908.

Dr Burt said: “February's rainfall amounted to just 2.7 mm in all, only 6% of the 1991-2020 normal, making it the driest February on our records since 1934 (which had 2.5 mm of rain).

"Since our records began in 1908, only three Februarys have recorded less than 4 mm of rain - in 1934, in 1932 with 3.7 mm and in 1993 with 3.2 mm.

“Since mid-January, we've received only 3.4 mm of rain, about the same as the driest six-week period last summer (2.8 mm, ending 14 August). February was dominated by anticyclonic conditions - the mean pressure (at 0900 UTC) was 1028.8 hPa, almost 14 hPa above normal. It's only been higher in one month within the last 30 years (February 2012, mean 1030.6 hPa).

"The dry and mild weather during the month was, undoubtedly, at least partially the result of persistent high pressure.

“If March remains dry, and March is on average the driest month of the year in Reading, the reimposition of last summer's water restrictions must be almost inevitable. But then again, that's what was said in early 2012 after a very dry winter - which was quickly followed by a very wet spring and summer."

The UK also saw its joint fifth mildest February on record in a series that goes back to 1884.

Winter was also slightly milder than normal, despite sub-arctic conditions at the start of December, with an average mean temperature of 4.3 degrees C, which is 0.2 degrees C above average.

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