Driest September Since Records Began

This is set to be the driest September across the UK since records began in 1910, with exceptionally low rainfall for many parts of the country, the Met Office said.

It is also likely to finish in the top five warmest, with UK mean temperatures significantly above the monthly average.

Using figures from September 1-28, the UK as a whole has received 19.4mm of rain, just 20% of the normal amount of rainfall which would be expected for the month. Before this one, the driest September on record was 1959 with 23.8mm.

Looking at individual countries, Northern Ireland should break the record for September dryness with only 6.5mm of rain, just 7% of the average. The previous record was set in 1986, with 9.7mm.

England, Wales and Scotland are likely to have their second driest September on record, with 13.5mm, 11.9mm and 33.3mm of rain respectively. Records were set in 1959 (7.9mm), 1959 (11.7mm) and 1972 (31.7mm) respectively.

This September follows on from the eighth wettest August on record and comes in a generally very wet year - this January to August is the wettest such period in the records, mainly as a result of the very wet start to the year and the wettest winter on record.

This means water levels remain sufficient. Trevor Bishop, Environment Agency deputy director of water resources, said: "Following the wettest January to August on record, water resources in England are around normal for the time of year.

"We also look ahead by modelling how rivers and groundwater may respond to different future rainfall patterns. The results show a broadly positive picture and even if rainfall is below average this autumn the country will not go into drought.''

The mean temperature for the UK so far has been 13.9C, which is 1.2C above the long-term average. This means it has been the joint fourth warmest September in the records back to 1910, but is well below the record of 15.2C set in 2006.

Sunshine amounts have been closer to average, with 94% of what would normally be expected across the UK.

The dry and warm conditions have been caused by high pressure dominating the weather for much of the month.

This tends to block more unsettled weather heading in off the Atlantic, leaving the UK fine, dry and fairly sunny.