The outlook for river flows and groundwater levels across the UK for February indicates some variability. Above normal river flows are the most likely outcome in north-west Scotland; for the remainder of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and most coastal areas of England normal to above normal river flows are most likely. For most of central England the most likely outcome is for river flows to be in the normal range. During February groundwater levels are most likely to be in the normal range. There are, however, parts of the east coast of England above Norfolk, and north-east Scotland in which, while normal flows and groundwater levels are most likely, there is the possibility of below normal flows and groundwater levels.
The outlook for both river flows and groundwater levels from February to April is for normal conditions.
Latest predictions for UK-mean precipitation favour near- to above-average rainfall for February, although there is a large degree of uncertainty. For February-March-April, predictability is low and the forecast does not differ significantly from climatology, with above-average and below-average precipitation equally probable. The probability that UK precipitation for February-March-April will fall either into the driest or wettest of our five categories is around 20% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).
River flows in January reflected the marked variation in observed rainfall with higher than normal flows in western parts in each of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and northern England, and also in the far south east of England. Conversely low flows were seen on the Derwent (Yorkshire) and Ythan (north-east Scotland). The pattern of higher than normal flows is likely to persist given the likelihood of above average rainfall; the expectation of higher than average rainfall suggests that rivers in which low flows were observed in January are likely to return to normal. Looking ahead to the coming three months, there is no strong signal towards above- or below-normal flows.
Groundwater levels during January were generally in the normal to above normal range across the UK, with the exception of the Permo-Triassic sandstones which recorded above normal levels. Groundwater levels are likely to remain at or slightly above normal in most aquifers in both February and the coming three months. Along the east coast of England lower than normal rainfall in January makes it unlikely that high groundwater levels will occur even with high rainfall.