Northern Ireland

England sees record rainfall in 18 months to March

Across the UK as a whole, the 18 months to March 2024 ranks as the fourth wettest on record.

Last month saw England experience 62% more rainfall than during an average March
Cars drive through rain on the A3 near Chessington Last month saw England experience 62% more rainfall than during an average March (Aaron Chown/PA)

England saw a record amount of rainfall in the 18 months to March, new figures show.

Some 1,695.9mm of rain fell from October 2022 to March 2024.

This is the highest level for any 18-month period in England since comparable data began in 1836, according to analysis by the PA news agency of Met Office provisional statistics.

It beats the previous record of 1,680.2mm, which had been set only the month before and covered the 18 months from September 2022 to February 2024.

The third highest figure on record, 1,668.4mm, was set in the 18 months to January 2021.

Last month saw England experience 62% more rainfall than an average March, though the total for the month, 94.3mm, was not close to record levels, ranking as the 19th wettest March for the nation since data began.

Overall, the UK saw 27% more rainfall than average last month, at 107.8mm, enough to rank as the 31st wettest March for the whole country.

Met Office scientist Emily Carlisle said: “Many will remember how wet March has been, with a succession of fronts and the influence of low pressure seemingly never too far away from the UK.

“Coming off the back of a wet winter and what has been a wet start to the year, many areas have very saturated ground, which has increased the sensitivity to rainfall events in recent weeks.”

An aerial view showing a flooded New Road Cricket Club, home of Worcestershire CCC, in Worcester at the end of March
An aerial view showing a flooded New Road Cricket Club, home of Worcestershire CCC, in Worcester at the end of March An aerial view showing a flooded New Road Cricket Club, home of Worcestershire CCC, in Worcester at the end of March (Jacob King/PA)

For the UK as a whole, the 18 months to March 2024 ranks as the fourth wettest on record, with 2,085.6mm of rain falling.

The UK’s wettest 18-month period was August 2019 to January 2021 (2,130.9mm).

A number of counties in England saw at least double the amount of rainfall last month than is typical for March, including Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, the Met Office added.

Wales saw 53% more rain than an average March, while Northern Ireland saw 49% more rain.

Although Scotland saw widespread rain throughout the month, it was drier than average, especially in northern and western areas.

March was a mild month across the UK, with the mean temperature for the month higher than average in all four nations.

England provisionally recorded its seventh warmest March on record, with an average temperature of 7.8°C.

Met Office data on temperatures begins in 1884.