The year began with a wintry complexion: it was the coldest January since 2010 (the UK average temperature was 2.2°C, 1.5°C below the long-term average) and most areas saw frequent wintry showers, with some notable snow
accumulations. January was a wet month at the national scale (with 114% of the January average) but in a reversal of the usual rainfall gradient, parts of Scotland were relatively dry and much of eastern and central England was
exceptionally wet. In northern England and Wales, a significant proportion of the monthly rainfall was associated with the passage of storm ‘Christoph’ mid-month, which brought exceptionally high flows across a large swathe of the country, and locally severe flood impacts – a second consecutive month of significant winter flooding. Correspondingly, groundwater levels were exceptionally high across much of northern Britain and near- to above average across the south, with some localised groundwater flood alerts. Reservoir levels increased in the majority of impoundments and stocks were above average at the national scale. The water resources outlook at the outset of 2021 is very healthy, but with widespread high river flows entering February, the potential for further flooding remains elevated for the remainder of the winter. Current outlooks suggesting above normal river flows are likely to persist into spring in eastern and southern England.