UK’s wettest day recorded in wake of Storm Alex, Met Office reveals

A shopper wearing a face mask shelters from the rain underneath an umbrella on a wet and windy day caused by Storm Alex. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

THE UK had its wettest day on record after Storm Alex hit earlier this month, with enough rain falling to more than fill Loch Ness, the Met Office has said.

Data from the national weather service show Saturday October 3, the day after the storm, was the wettest day in records dating back to 1891.

Rainfall was widespread, with an average of 31.7mm (1.25 inches) falling across the whole of the UK and beating the previous record of 29.8mm (1.17 inches) on August 25 1986, the Met Office said.

Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: “In climate statistics, 2019 will be remembered for possessing the UK’s hottest day, whereas 2020 will be associated with rainfall records.”

He said the volume of rain that fell across the UK was more than the capacity of Loch Ness, the largest lake in the country by volume, holding 7.4 cubic kilometres of water.

Mr McCarthy added: “It is exceptional to have 30 to 50mm or more of rain falling so extensively across the UK – from the south coast of England to the north coast of Scotland – in a single day.”

Climate change is increasing the risk of more extreme weather, such as more intense heavy downpours, scientists warn.

Grahame Madge, a climate spokesman for the Met Office, said: “The UK’s rainfall record contains many extreme events but it is clear from the UK’s climate projections that with warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers we can expect increasingly more extreme rainfall records toward the end of the century.

“There is a simple relationship between a warmer atmosphere and an increased amount of moisture in the atmosphere – this again suggests that the UK is likely to witness increased rainfall and more record-breaking events.”

The Met Office said the start of October has been very wet, with the UK overall already having 68% of its average rainfall for the month.

More than 20 counties across the country have already received at least 100% of the rain they would expect on average for October, including Buckinghamshire with 139% of the month’s rainfall, Berkshire with 138% and Hertfordshire with 132%.

Other counties already reaching 100% or above are Aberdeenshire; Angus; Banffshire; Bedfordshire; Berwickshire; Cheshire; City of London; City of Aberdeen; East Lothian; Essex; Gloucestershire; Greater London; Hampshire; Isle of Wight; Kincardineshire; Moray; Northamptonshire; Staffordshire; Surrey; Tyne and Wear; Warwickshire; Wiltshire, and Worcestershire.

While England overall has had 87% of the month’s average rainfall already in October, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have had average amounts of rain.

Argyll and Bute has been significantly drier with just 29% of average rain.

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