Picture of small river
Latest Outlook
Outlook map for January 2023

January 2023 Hydrological Outlook

Period: From January 2023      Issued on 09.01.2023 using data to the end of December 2022

The outlook for January is for above normal flows for much of the UK, with the exception of East Anglia, where below normal flows are likely to persist. For the January-March period, normal to above normal river flows are expected for much of the UK. Groundwater levels for the January and the January-March period are likely to be normal to above normal in most of the UK, with above normal levels particularly in the far south of England. However, in the Lincolnshire Chalk aquifer and East Anglia normal to below normal levels are more likely.

Rainfall:

In December, above average precipitation was received in southern England, and along the north-east coast and eastern Scotland, whilst elsewhere it was drier than average, particularly so in western Scotland.

The precipitation forecast (issued by the Met Office on 19.12.2022) shows a slightly increased likelihood of a drier than average January, however precipitation for January so far has been above average for most of the UK and latest forecasts show an increasing likelihood of above average precipitation. The forecast for the January-March period, also shows an increased likelihood of wetter than normal conditions.

River flows:

River flows in December were mainly normal for most of the UK, with the exception of East Anglia and the far north of Scotland, where they were below normal, and southern England where they were above normal. 

Given the increased likelihood of wetter than normal conditions, river flows in January are likely to be above normal for many western areas of the UK. Over the three-month period, the same pattern is expected with flows in the normal to above normal range. Below normal flows are likely to persist in East Anglia.

Groundwater:

Groundwater levels in December were normal to above normal for most of the UK, particularly so in southern England where levels were notably high. There were some exceptions and levels were normal to below normal in the Chalk aquifer, and also in northern Scotland.

Over the next month and three-month period, the same general pattern is expected to persist over most of the country with most areas being in the normal to above normal range. In Lincolnshire & East Anglia however, levels are likely to be normal to below normal.