Where are the April showers?

NO April showers have forced gardeners and farmers to come to terms with an early-spring drought as plants and crops become desperate for water.Despite this week's drizzle, this is set to go down in the history books as one of the driest months ever.

NO April showers have forced gardeners and farmers to come to terms with an early-spring drought as plants and crops become desperate for water.

Despite this week's drizzle, this is set to go down in the history books as one of the driest months ever. So far only two hundredths of an inch of rain has fallen in the Ipswich area.

Forecasters are now doubtful whether any will fall over the next week - and if the current figure remains the same this will be the driest April since records began in 1840.

However the wetter than average winter - and in particular the sodden February - means that water company bosses are not concerned about reservoir and underground levels at present.


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A spokeswoman for Anglian Water said: “The winter was very wet and that means our stocks are much better now than they were at this stage last year.

“Alton Water is 92 per cent full, and our other reservoirs area all well over 90 pc full. The groundwater levels are also well up. The winter was very wet.”

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However the company continued to urge customers to try to save water and not to use too much watering already-parched gardens.

The first three months of 2007 all had above average rainfall and the second month was the wettest February since Victorian times in the Ipswich area.

Star weatherman Ken Blowers said: “We started the year with an awful lot of rain as depression after depression headed our way.

“Over the last few weeks that has all changed with one anticyclone after another. Last week they were saying this week would be more unsettled but now that has changed.

“The last real rain we had was on March 30 and it could mean we go through the whole month without any rain. There were 12 drops in my garden on Sunday and 23 drops yesterday afternoon!”

However the heavy rain in the first three months of the year means that rainfall as a whole for 2007 is still above average.

Meteorologists are adamant that the current dry spell is caused by normal weather fluctuations rather than climate change. There has been plenty of rain falling over the north Atlantic but the moist air has been blocked from heading over Britain by a series of anticyclones which has pushed it to Iceland or Spain instead.

The government's Met Office has published a long-range forecast for the summer which says it will be warmer than the 1971/2000 average - but there is only a one in eight chance of it being a very hot summer like 2003 or 2006.

They expect rainfall over the summer to be about average.

Did you know: September 1865 is the only month that no rain at all has fallen in the Ipswich area.

The previous driest April was in 1840 when eight hundredths of an inch fell.

Is your garden suffering because of drought? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

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