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‘Second driest’ six months in a century

By Emily Beament

The UK has experienced the driest first six months of the year for more than 80 years, the Met Office said yesterday.

Official figures showed the average rainfall across the country was 356.8mm (14.05 inches) between January and June, making it the driest start to the year since 1929, when 275.7mm (10.85 inches) of rain was recorded, and the second driest in a century.

Rainfall for the first six months of 2010 is well below the long-term average of 511.7 mm (20.15 inches) for January to June.

According to the Met Office the dry weather has been caused by a lack of Atlantic weather systems, which usually bring bands of rain across the UK, especially to western parts.

The dry conditions have led to low levels in reservoirs and pressure on water supplies in some parts of the country, such as the North West of England.

Barrie Clarke, communications director at Water UK, the water industry body, said: “These figures paint a graphic picture of why reservoirs in the west are so low by comparison with normal years.

“During such a dry spell it makes sense to use water wisely wherever you live.”

Last week millions of householders were warned of a possible hosepipe ban after the winter's “Biblical floods” in Cumbria were followed by a summer drought.

Water levels in many reservoirs and lakes have plummeted to less than half their capacity in the county due to the dry conditions.

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