Submitted by Eugene Magee on
January was a month of two parts, firstly characterised by a continuation of the mild, unsettled weather seen during the latter half of December, leading to both pluvial and fluvial flooding in western areas. Drier and colder weather then dominated, leading to river flow recessions to month-end. Despite the unsettled start to the month, rainfall was only slightly above average for January. January monthly river flows were above normal across much of northern and western Britain, exceptionally so in south-west England and south Wales. Elsewhere, in Northern Ireland, northern Scotland and eastern England river flows remained in the normal range. Soil moisture was above average for the time of year, contributing to the continuation of groundwater recharge at many sites, however at more responsive sites, recessions in groundwater levels occurred. Reservoir stocks continued to recover, however in many areas, such as Wales, south-west and eastern England, stocks remained below average for the time of year (Colliford was 37% below average; Celyn & Brenig was 17% below average). Settled conditions have continued into February and longer-term outlooks suggest they are likely to persist, particularly in southern and eastern areas, which highlights an increasing risk of water resource uncertainty for later in 2023 – rainfall over the remainder of the recharge season will be crucial in combatting this uncertainty.