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Event Details

Drought event report

Category: Drought
Observation: 16.05.2011
Continent: Europe
Country: United Kingdom
State:
Area: Statewide
Location:
Severity: Hight
Event details
A heatwave lasting a fortnight is on its way to the UK as forecasters predict hot weather sweeping in from Europe. Despite cooler conditions that are expected this week, this month looks set to be the hottest May since records began 353 years ago. From next Saturday forecasters believe we will see temperatures of 29C on a regular basis over the next fortnight. While many people will be celebrating the continuous warm and dry weather, fears are growing that conditions have reached crisis point. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has called for an emergency drought summit due to take place today. So far, May has been 2.6C warmer than average with central England recording 13C - already ranking May inside the top six per cent of hottest months since records began in 1659. Ms Spelman will meet with members of the water industry body Water UK, the National Farmers' Union, the Environment Agency and Natural England. Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Positive Weather Solutions, said: 'This is an astonishing year so far and may well continue to turn up more surprises. May is outperforming expectations, as did March and April. 'There will be some rain during the rest of May in the north and west, but no nearly enough to stave off drought concerns. 'We expect high pressure to build again during late May and through to the second week of June, with warm temperatures and possible humidity leading to thunderstorms.' Farmers are beginning to feel the strain with food production threatened without much needed rain. Richard Sykes, a farmer from Suffolk, wrote on his NFU blog: 'There is talk in this area of failed spring crops on the lighter land, a worrying lack of grass to feed livestock and an uneasy thought over what to feed the animals next winter if it does not rain soon. 'My second wheats, drilled late October, are flagging in the dryness with shallow rooting and a lack of nitrogen making them look more yellow than green. With the winter barley next door already in full ear it makes me wonder when harvest will be.' Parts of southern Britain have already been officially declared to be suffering from drought conditions after the warm April as the heatwave spreads across Europe. England and Wales received the lowest March and April rainfall since 1938 with some regions getting the lowest rain in records dating back more than 100 years. Waterflow in some rivers, including the Exe in south west England and the Ribble in the North West, were similar to those experienced in the drought of 1976. According to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, 'The primary impacts are on farmers and growers, an increased risk of forest and heath fires and, importantly, on river flows.' The Met Office said: 'Conditions are expected to become mainly fine and settled from Saturday into next week, with an upward trend in temperatures and many areas likely to see warm sunshine. 'It looks mainly dry, although isolated heavy showers are possible from time to time. The relatively dry, settled weather shows signs of continuing into June, with daytime and night-time temperatures likely to be above average.'
Event map:
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