This month on track to be among driest Aprils on record

Catherine Wylie and John Besley, PA
·4-min read

This month is on course to be one the driest Aprils on record with the UK seeing just 18% of its average rainfall.

Traditional April showers have stayed away, putting the month in line for a place in the history books if the weather continues in this vein.

There has been an average of 12.8mm of rain across the UK up to April 22, much lower than the April average of 72.53mm, according to Met Office figures.

Spring weather Apr 22nd 2021
Groups of people enjoy the warm weather near Tower Bridge in central London on Thursday (Victoria Jones/PA)

A typical April in the UK would have had 70% of its rainfall by now, but it instead has just had 18%.

The driest April on record across the UK was in 1938 when 14.1mm of rain was recorded, followed by April 1974 when 14.6mm of rain fell.

In more recent years, the driest Aprils in the UK have been in 2007 when 26.6mm of rain was recorded and 2020 when the average was 29.1mm.

The South East has seen just 7% of the average rainfall this month, with 4.1mm of rain falling.

The driest April in the South East was in 1912 when 4.8mm was recorded.

Spring weather Apr 22nd 2021
Assistant Ranger David Wodehouse walks his spaniel Pickle through a blanket of bluebells near their peak at the National Trust’s Basildon Park near Goring-on-Thames in Berkshire (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Cornwall has seen just 6% of its average rainfall for the month, while Dorset has seen even less of its usual with just 5%.

In the City of London there has been 0.2mm of rain in April, while the Greater London area has seen 1.1mm.

Scotland and Northern Ireland, which have been relatively wetter than other places, have still seen just 28% of their average rainfall.

Grahame Madge, climate spokesman at the Met Office, told the PA news agency: “Really for the rest of the month there isn’t any signal for significant rainfall.”

He said there may be some rain in the middle part of next week, but added: “That’s not necessarily going to do anything to top up these figures and get us anywhere near average.

“So I think we recognise that obviously with eight or so days to go April is going to be a very dry month.”

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Mr Madge said this month will probably have been quite “challenging” for crop growers as it has been quite cold as well as dry.

He added: “I think there is a good chance that if the month continues in line with the forecast that we are going to be in line for seeing this as one of the driest Aprils.”

Mr Madge said it is probably going to be in the top 10, taking into account every April since 1862.

“I can’t see us getting another 18mm of rain.

“I can’t see us getting more than we’ve already had in the last eight days of the month.

“So I think we’re definitely in line for the driest April since 2007,” he said.

The NFU’s national water resources specialist, Paul Hammett, said that after a delayed start to spring planting for many farmers following very wet winter conditions, they have now turned to irrigating their crops following several weeks of dry weather.

He said irrigation prospects for crops such as fruit and vegetables remain good because water availability is high following winter rainfall.

But with mainly dry weather forecast for the next few weeks, the absence of rainfall needed by cereal and grass crops is beginning to cause some concern.

Another issue faced by farmers is the cold weather which is hampering grass growth.

Meanwhile, much of the nation can expect to bask in daytime temperatures in the mid-to-late teens on Friday, but the north-eastern coast of Scotland will struggle to get out of single digits.

People relax on the beach at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset (Ben Birchall/PA)
People relax on the beach at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset (Ben Birchall/PA)

The warm conditions will then give way to a chilly evening, before the mercury picks back up again on Saturday, though the Met Office said it would remain cooler in the east of England.

The dry and sunny conditions are expected to persist on Sunday, but forecasters said England’s east may have a little more cloud cover.

Conditions should remain fine in the south heading into early next week but will likely turn more unsettled elsewhere with rain and showers spreading south-east.

The warm break comes after the UK shivered through the coldest start to April since 2013.

The Met Office said mean temperatures were 2-4C cooler than average for the time of year between April 1 and April 18.