England drenched by wettest March in more than 40 years, Met Office data shows

31 March 2023, 23:16 | Updated: 1 April 2023, 00:41

Data up to Thursday March 30 shows 111.3mm of rain fell in March
Data up to Thursday March 30 shows 111.3mm of rain fell in March. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

England saw its wettest March in more than four decades, according to new Met Office data.

Data up to March 30 showed 111.3mm of rain fell in the month - 91 per cent more than average.

Meanwhile, Wales and Northern Ireland had one of their top 10 wettest Marches on record, according to the data.

Head of the National Climate Information Centre Dr Mark McCarthy said: "Although the month started cold and dry for many, moist, milder air soon pushed up from the south bringing frequent heavy periods of rain, this being longest-lasting in the southern half of the UK.

"Overall this has been an unsettled month dominated by Atlantic low pressure weather systems. Many parts of southern and central England and south Wales have received more than double their average rainfall for March."

Sunshine hours were also lower in March, with provisional figures showing the UK had a duller-than-average month.

Data up to March 30 showed 111.3mm of rain has fallen in the month
Data up to March 30 showed 111.3mm of rain has fallen in the month. Picture: Getty

Although the English record of 147.2mm, set in March 1947, will not be challenged, it followed the driest February in 30 years, which saw just 15.3mm of rain fell.

It comes after the National Drought Group said the UK is one hot dry spell away from returning to drought conditions that were seen in summer last year.

Environment Agency executive director and National Drought Group chairman John Leyland said: "Rainfall in March has helped water levels improve, but it follows on the heels of a very dry February so there is a need to remain vigilant - especially in areas that have not recovered from the drought last year.

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"As ever, it is important that we all continue to use water carefully to protect our precious rivers, lakes and groundwater, and the environment and wildlife that depend on it."

Dr McCarthy added: "March 2023 will be remembered for being a dull and wet month, especially for those in the south of the UK.

"While the rainfall has been notable in England and Wales, it hasn't been enough to fully recover the deficit of rain over the last 12 months."