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Parts of southern England have had the driest two consecutive winters...
Parts of southern England have had the driest two consecutive winters

since 1920-22.

Figures released by the Met Office today show that South-east and

central southern England have had:

* the driest November 2004-January 2006 in over 80 years, with just

724mm of rain;

* the 2nd driest November 2004-January 2006 on record1;

* 13 of the last 15 months have recorded below the 1961-1990

long-term average, having only 72% of the average which is 1001mm.

According to the Met Office's long-range forecasting expert Dr

Richard Graham, the outlook for the next few months is uncertain.

'There are significant uncertainties in seasonal prediction, however,

in terms of rainfall, it looks as though it could be drier than

normal in the north. But there are equal probabilities of dry, normal

or wet weather for the south of the country.'

The Met Office works closely with Environment Agency and water

companies to monitor levels of rainfall. Met Office information has

been used as part of the Environment Agency's 2006 Drought Prospects

Report 2.


1. The rainfall series goes back to 1914.

2. The Drought Report is available at

3. Regularly updated data on the dry spell can be found at

4. In hydrological terms the 'water year' runs from October to

September; with September being the time when ground water levels are

expected to be at their lowest. The period from October to the end of

April is the time when water levels are expected to 'recharge'. A dry

winter period is more critical than a dry summer period.

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