Month so far ‘driest for 50 years’

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The first half of September has been the UK’s driest for more than 50 years, weather experts said today.

Figures to September 15 show there has been 6.7mm of rain across the UK, which is just 7% of the September average of 96mm, the Met Office said.

Forecasters would normally expect about half of the average monthly rainfall by this point in the month.

A spokesman said this made it the driest first half of September for the UK in available records back to 1960. It is also the driest start to September for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but not for England – 1997 and 2003 were drier.

Looking at individual countries, Wales has been the driest with less than 1mm of rain up to September 15. Northern Ireland has had 1.2mm of rain, while England has seen 4.1mm and Scotland 13.5mm.

The UK mean temperature so far has been 13.9C (57F), which is 1.3C (34F) above the full-month average.

Day-time maximums have been particularly high, with a UK average of 18.4C (65F) which is 1.9C (35F) above the average, while night-time minimums have been closer to average at 9.6C (49F), which is 0.7C (33F) above average.

Sunshine has also been slightly above normal with 70.8 hours for the UK – about 57% of the full-month average.

The figures have come about after a prolonged spell of settled and fine weather, dominated by high pressure sitting over the UK. This has blocked the usual low pressure systems that move in from the west and bring unsettled conditions.

The spokesman said: “While these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall. A few days of wet or cold weather could drastically alter the statistics, so we’ll have to wait for the full-month figures before making any judgements.

“Whilst the rest of this week should be dry and warm for many areas, some sharp showers may develop in places, particularly through Thursday and Friday.”