Britain had driest start to year since 1929: forecasters

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Britain has had the driest first six months of the year for more than eight decades, weather forecasters said Wednesday, amid warnings the lack of rain was putting pressure on water supplies.

Official figures from the Met Office forecasting service showed the average rainfall across the country between January and June was 356.8 millimetres (14.05 inches).

This made it the driest start to a year since 1929, when 275.7 millimetres was recorded, and the second driest for 100 years.

Rainfall for the first six months of 2010 was well below the long-term average of 511.7 millimetres for January to June.

The dry conditions have been caused by a lack of Atlantic weather systems, which usually cross Britain bringing bands of rain, especially to western parts, said the Met Office.

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

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

© 2010 AFP

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