We are getting lots of reports from farmers concerned about the state of water reserves as we enter spring a summer.
As always the pictures varies widely across the nation but a glance at the rainfall situation of the previous year reveals that the rainfall shortage is most acute in northeast England, but also through parts of the Midlands and northern Scotland. Interestingly, the far south of England, and especially the far southeast have seen rainfall above annual totals.
Below is the rainfall, accumulation and daily rainfall chart for Leeming in North Yorkshire for the 365 days to 21st january 2019. It shows a deficit of rainfall of 4.2 inches.
This is the rainfall anomaly chart for 2019 as issued by the Met Office.
Now, the question that we are getting asked is will the rainfall of spring and summer make up for these deficits as this could have a huge implication for crop growing.
The answer, I'm afraid, it a little mixed. The dry winter we have experienced so far is expected to continue into February. If we had to put a figure on it, expect 70 to 80% of normal rainfall. march is showing some signs of things being dry too, again aorund the 80% rainfall level.
April has for some time highlighted the possibility of a more unsettled month, perhaps with 100 to 120% of rainfall, and May looks fairly mixed too; again pitching in around the 100 to 120% mark.
We then come to June which may be near or just below 100%, whilst July may be drier at 80 to 100%.
Of course, we could see huge changes in the forecast (and probably will) and so do expect the above to change. But, working on an average of 80 to 90% suggests that reserves of water probably don't get topped up in the coming couple of seasons.
Sorry to be the bearer of unwelcome news, but probably better to know what we are currently thinking!