East Anglia was ‘driest’ region as national rain records set in February

PUBLISHED: 13:20 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:34 02 March 2020

Heavy rain made it more difficult that normal to cross The Strood causeway to Mersea Island in Essex. Picture: KIRSTY O'CONNOR/PA

Heavy rain made it more difficult that normal to cross The Strood causeway to Mersea Island in Essex. Picture: KIRSTY O'CONNOR/PA

It may have felt as if the region was drenched in February – but we should actually be relieved that this part of the country was the driest in the country. East Anglia “only” got 192% of average rainfall!

In Suffolk itself the figure was even lower - just 73.3mm, 181% of the average, fell making it the 11th wettest on record. Essex saw 73.5mm, 195% of the average - the 14th wettest February on record.

The figures were released by the Met Office after a month which has seen communities in other parts of the country devastated by flooding.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "Across the UK February's rainfall was a record - but East Anglia was actually the 'driest' area of the country, although I'm sure it didn't feel that dry! It was still much wetter than average and I know many farmers will be concerned."

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However there is some good news - the next 10 days are expected to be reasonably benign apart from a few showers at the weekend and after the middle of the month the long-term forecasts suggests weather patterns should be more settled.

Anglia Water has been pleased to see the rain. A spokeswoman said: "Our groundwater stocks are nearly all fully replenished now after the wet winter. We have a few that are still marginally low - but over the next few weeks they will become full as water seeps into them.

"I know people have become fed up with all the rain, but it's what we needed. Our reservoirs are full. The groundwater has recovered. We are looking forward to the summer from a good place."

The Environment Agency has also reported significant river flows during February - and it was confirmed last month that the official drought in the area had been lifted at the end of January.

The NFU said it had been an extremely challenging winter for farmers. East Anglia had escaped the serious flooding seen in other areas, but the prolonged wet weather had prevented many farmers from getting on to the land. Some still had sugar beet to harvest, winter-sown crops had suffered, and a lengthy dry spell was needed to allow the planting of spring crops including wheat and barley.

The wet weather followed months of below-average rainfall and NFU Suffolk County Chairman Glenn Buckingham said climate change meant farmers were likely to see such extremes on a more regular basis: "The fear is we're going to see this sort of pattern every few years. We are going to have to build resilience against extreme weather to remain productive, and we will need government help with that."

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