“Wettest Ever” Winter Update
By Paul Homewood
I have now had the chance to fully analyse the latest rainfall numbers put up by the Met Office. Let’s start by looking at the actual numbers up to 19th Feb, and an estimate of where we are likely to be by the end of February. (I do not like to do this sort of speculation, and would much rather wait till the actual numbers are confirmed, However, as the Met Office have set the ball rolling, I have little choice.)
The forecast for the rest of the month is nothing scientific! It just assumes average rainfall, which does not seem particularly out of line with Met forecast. Also, I would point out that the Met Office have not issued any figures for the England & Wales series for February so far – consequently my guesstimate is less certain.
|UK||England||England & Wales
|Feb 1st – 19th||118.3||95.5|
|Feb 20th – 28th Estimate||30.0||20.0||120.0 (Full month)|
Taking the UK as a whole, how do the above numbers compare with other 3-month periods? Since 1910, we find periods in the winters of 1929/30 and 2001/01 which were wetter than my estimate.
|Oct – Dec 1929||553|
|Nov 1929– Jan 1930||554|
|Oct – Dec 2000||520|
Note that the wet period of the winter of 1929/30 extended over four months, and not three as is the case this year.
In England, we find a similar pattern, but also with the introduction into the mix of 1914/15
|Dec 1914 – Feb 1915||392|
|Oct – Dec 1929||452|
|Nov 1929 – Jan 1930||455|
|Oct – Dec 2000||442|
England & Wales Series
Again, I must make the proviso here that no figures for this month have been published by the Met Office, so there is a degree of uncertainty. Nevertheless:
|Oct – Dec 1852||450|
|Nov 1876 – Jan 1877||449|
|Oct – Dec 1929||499|
|Nov 1929 – Jan 1930||500|
|Oct – Dec 2000||512|
|Oct – Dec 2002||467|
Based on the Met Office’s provisional numbers, it is true that, for the UK as a whole, this has been the wettest Dec – Feb period on record since 1910. For England, the outcome looks to be close to 1914/15.
However, the Met Office’s claims only tell half the story. Unless there is a Noah like deluge in the next week, the 3-month periods of Oct – Dec, and Nov – Jan, during the winter of 1929/30 will remain as by far the wettest on record.
It is also possible that, on the England & Wales Series, this last three months may be no wetter than periods in the winters of 1852/3 and 1876/7.