Climate - Rainfall
Climate - Rainfall
Parts of the United Kingdom are surprisingly dry - London receives less rain annually than Rome, Sydney or New York. In Eastern England it typically rains on about 1 day in 4 and slightly more in winter. The wettest seasons are the winter and autumn.
Rainfall amounts can vary greatly across the United Kingdom and generally the further west and the higher the elevation, the greater the rainfall. The Lake District is one of the wettest places in the UK with an average annual rainfall total that exceeds 2000 mm. The mountains of Wales, Scotland, the pennines and the moors of the south west are also particularly wet. In contrast, the south, south east, east and the southern midlands receive less than 700 mm of rain per year.
The county of Essex is one of the driest in the British Isles, with an average annual rainfall of around 600 mm (24 inches), although it typically rains on around 90 days per year. In some years rainfall in Essex can be below 450 mm (18 inches) — less than the average annual rainfall in Jerusalem and Beirut.
The main reasons for high number of rainy days in the UK are its mid-latitude position, its close proximity to the Atlantic ocean and the warm waters the North Atlantic Drift brings.
Most rainfall in the UK comes from North Atlantic depressions which roll into the UK throughout the year and are particularly frequent and intense in the autumn and winter. They can on occasions bring prolonged periods of heavy rain in the north and flooding is not rare.
Precipitation over the mountains of the north is especially high and are some of the wettest places in Europe with an average annual rainfall exceeding 60 inches (1,500 mm).
Eastern and southern areas, away from the ocean, are considerably drier than western and northern areas.
The UK has had severe drought problems in recent years with many reservoirs well below normal levels in 2006. Fires have broken out, even across the normally damp higher ground of North West England and Wales. The driest areas since 2003 have been in Sussex, Kent, Surrey and London but the drought is now spreading to many other parts of the country, during the summer of 2006. The landscape in much of England and South East Wales is turning very parched and losing the green colour often associated with the British Isles, even near coasts. Water restrictions are in place in some areas with hose pipe bans and stand pipes may have to be brought in for some neighbourhoods. There is no sign of an end to the drought in the near future as the majority of months continue to be drier and warmer than average. July 2006 was the hottest month on record for the UK and much of Europe. However england has had warmer spells of 31 days which did not coincide with a calendar month; in 1976 and 1995.
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Page 1 - Introduction / Overview
Page 2 - Seasons
Page 3 - Regions
Page 4 - Sunshine & Clouds
Page 5 - The Atlantic Ocean
Page 6 - Winds
Page 7 - Rainfall (Current page)
Page 8 - Temperature
Page 9 - Severe weather
Page 10 - Climate history