Hydrological Summary for October 2023 Published

Despite some unseasonal autumn warmth, October was unsettled and exceptionally wet for large areas of the UK, with a train of Atlantic weather systems bringing heavy rainfall and severe impacts from flooding. Temperatures were near-average in Scotland but it was warm in the south, especially from the 7th-10th when temperatures of 25°C were recorded in south-east England. The October rainfall for the UK was 140% of average (the sixth wettest October since 1890) but it was the wettest on record in some regions of eastern Scotland, and among the wettest in parts of central and eastern England. Consequently, October river flows were largely above normal, and often notably or exceptionally high. Parts of east Anglia saw a marked hydrological recovery: some catchments that have seen persistent below‑average flows until early autumn (e.g. the Waveney, Stringside) registered peak flows in October that were among the top three on record (for any month). Reservoir stocks increased in most northern impoundments and remain above average at the national scale. However, western areas saw near-average rainfall so there was little change in some reservoirs (Colliford, Roadford, Celyn & Briane) with persistent below-average stocks. Given the wet autumn soils, recharge was evident at the majority of boreholes and groundwater levels ranged from above normal to exceptionally high. The water resources position is favourable, but flood risk is elevated in many areas. The current Hydrological Outlook favours above normal flows over the coming months in eastern Britain, and October ended with the naming of another storm (Ciaran) that bought further flood impacts in early November.

Read the Hydrological Summary