Submitted by Katie Muchan on
December was a mixed month with wet weather bookended by settled spells. Overall December was mild, with only a few cold snaps, and a new December UK maximum temperature record of 18.7°C was set in Achfary (Highland) on the 28th. Rainfall was above average at the national scale, and particularly so in southern England. Conversely areas of north-east Britain received substantially below average rainfall. River flows in England and south Wales were generally above normal, exceptionally so in places, whilst in northern Britain and Northern Ireland flows were largely in the normal range. Soil moisture deficits (SMDs) were negligible across most of the country, and groundwater levels remained exceptionally high across large parts of the UK, particularly in north-east and central-southern England where several new records were established. At the national scale, reservoir stocks remained healthy following successive months of wet weather, notably so in impoundments in southern Britain. For seven consecutive months UK rainfall has been above average, and as a result the water resources outlook for 2020 is healthy. High river flows, saturated soils, an early start to the recharge season and exceptionally high groundwater levels increase the risk of further fluvial and groundwater flooding over the coming months.