Soaking June set to drench all records

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The Independent Online
Drought warnings were issued last night even though this month will probably enter the record books as the wettest June this century.

The Environment Agency was quick to highlight the country's water shortage after another miserable day in many parts of the country, while weather officials could not rule out the possibility that it will be the wettest June for118 years.

In June 1879, there was 137mm of rain and 129mm in 1982. By 10am yesterday only 2.6 mm more rain was needed for June 1997 to slot into the record books as the wettest this century.

Andy Yeatman, spokesman for The Meteorological Office in London, said: "My suspicion is that June will break the 1982 record. The figures date back to 1727 and are derived by meaning the rainfall recorded at a number of sites across England and Wales. Rainfall readings for the 24 hours ending at 10am on Tuesday will be included in the June rainfall total. That's when we'll know the grand total.

"Eastern England has experienced some rain today. There's been little elsewhere but I wouldn't rule out June breaking the 1879 record as well."

The Environment Agency's director of water management, Dr Geoff Mance, said: "We are still effectively missing six months of winter rainfall which is essential for refilling groundwater supplies. The areas that rely on groundwater are still suffering from drought.

"The rainfall has been welcome and played an important role in reducing customer demand. People haven't had to water their gardens and in fact demand has reduced so much over the last month that it is now at the same level that it was 20 years ago."

Although June was the wettest month since January 1995, the period between April 1995 and March this year was the driest two year period for more than 200 years.

Essex and Suffolk Water customers are still being told to conserve their water. Last night the company said that there were no plans to lift hose and sprinkler bans enforced on 12 June.

Southern Water kept its sprinkler ban despite 99-year-old rainfall records being broken in Hove, Sussex.