Driest January for almost a decade

England and Wales have had the driest January for almost ten years, according to the Met Office.

The latest figures, published today, showed that some parts of the UK have had less than a quarter of their average rainfall so far this year.

In total, England and Wales had 33.2mm of rain throughout the month - 37% of the long-term average - making it the driest January since 1997 and the sixth driest on record.

Many other areas also had less than half their average January rainfall, including the Midlands and East Anglia, South West England and Southern Wales and Eastern and North East England.

South East and Central Southern England it was the fourth driest January on record and the driest year since 1973.

The Met Office said that, since November 2004, 13 out of the last 15 months have recorded below 1960-1990 average rainfall for the region. The worst affected areas were Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Middlesex and Kent, which have all received around 70% of their normal rainfall.

Environment Minister Lord Bach said that the region could face the worst summer drought since 1976, if the dry conditions continued.

The Environment Agency has warned that water restrictions, including hosepipes and sprinkler bans, could be imposed if the dry conditions continued.


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