British Drought Turns into Massive Rainfall

Steve Bott/CC BY 2.0

The weather in Britain is getting stranger and stranger. Last month a drought was announced because it has been the driest spring since 1976.

And then it started to rain: April was the wettest on record and experts said it was the first time April had been colder than March for 74 years.

The sale of umbrellas is up 2,580% according to one report, and 5,000% according to another. Sales of product to tame frizzy hair have gone up 46%, hot chocolate is up 26% and soup by 150%.

But the heavy rain is causing more serious problems for wildlife and farmers.

According to the Telegraph, the unseasonal weather has left the birds so confused that they are singing autumn instead of spring songs. Apparently "chiffchaffs and willow warblers are chirping their farewell songs instead of their mating tunes."

There is a fear that there will be a loss of baby birds after thousands of nests were destroyed by floods in some areas.

British Asparagus Festival/Screen capture

For the farmers, crops are being battered and delayed by the miserable weather. Growers have announced that there will be a two week delay to the asparagus season. Asparagus is very climate dependent and needs warm soil to grow. The annual British Asparagus Festival was cancelled due to rain and flooding and the resultant lack of early asparagus.

Fruit trees are being affected too. The cooler weather has affected the growth of apple and pear trees and "may lead to pollination being aborted in some locations".

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

Despite the “prolonged rain”, officials said drought restrictions would remain in place. The real issue is the water companies: they lose 3.36 billion litres of water a day in leaks. However they will not be required to reduce their leakages at all before 2015 because of low targets set by the government's regulatory agency. One politician has suspicions:

Clearly there are vested interests at play. It costs more to repair leaks than the immediate value of the water itself, so while it makes sense for a water company to ignore leaks, it certainly doesn't stack up in the long term for us, the consumers, or for our environment.

Tags: Drought | England | Food Security | Weather

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