Submitted by Steve Turner on
March was largely dry and settled, interspersed with some unsettled periods. It was a month of two halves in terms of temperatures, with cold weather bringing some precipitation as snow in the first half of the month. In contrast to the previous three months, rainfall was below average across much of the UK, with only parts of northern and western Britain recording above average rainfall. River flows were generally in the normal range, with notably high flows in some catchments in north-west and south-east England. Soil moisture deficits increased slightly across most of the UK following the predominantly dry weather, but remained near average for the time of year. The seasonal recession of groundwater levels began in most index boreholes, however levels remained in the normal range or above for the time of year, and exceptionally high in some boreholes. There were modest declines in reservoir levels in most impoundments across the UK, but stocks remained near average at the national scale. Outlooks over the winter months suggested increased flood risk, however with increased soil moisture deficits and climbing evapotranspiration rates through the spring so far, this risk has now subsided and the water resources outlook for the UK overall looks healthy. However, with little appreciable rainfall so far in April and river flows receding across most of the UK, vigilance may be needed in more responsive catchments under continued dry weather, which is consistent with the short-term outlook.