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Record breaking UK weather makes February the hottest ever and one of the wettest

Londoners sheltering from the rain (James Manning/PA Wire)
Londoners sheltering from the rain (James Manning/PA Wire)

New figures from the Met Office confirmed last month was the hottest February on record for England and Wales but also one of the wettest.

Meteorologists said the south of England had its wettest February since 1836, with many parts of the region recording well over twice the average rainfall for the month.

East Anglia experienced its warmest and wettest February on record, with an average of 106.4mm of rainfall across the month, beating the previous record of 95.2mm set in 1916, and a mean temperature of 8.2C, surpassing the previous record of 7.6C set in 1990.

The UK as a whole experienced its second warmest February, with a mean temperature across the month of 6.3C, behind the record of 6.8C set in 1998.

The Met Office’s Mike Kendon said: “The UK’s observations clearly show winters are getting warmer, and they are also getting wetter since as the atmosphere heats up, it has an increased capacity to hold moisture.

“The top 10 warmest winters on record for the UK include 2024, 2022, 2020, 2016 and 2014, and the top 10 wettest 2024, 2020, 2016 and 2014 – so very mild winters also show a tendency to be very wet.”

The record-breaking weather has caused problems for farmers. Andrew Blenkiron, from the Euston Estate in Suffolk, said the conditions have been “frustrating and costly” for sowing and harvesting crops this year.

He said: “We can’t get on and get any land work done now so we are struggling to prepare land for the planting of spring crops.

“We’re probably a month behind where we would like to be and that’s starting to be very frustrating.

“There will be a financial impact on not being able to get those Autumn crops planted and the delay now is potentially going to impact on yields as we move forwards in the summer.”

David Eudall, economics and analysis director at the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board, said cereal crop farmers are dealing with a “triple whammy” of rain preventing them from planting crops, the hangover from inflation, and lower prices on the international market.

“It is an extremely difficult year for them because the cumulative effect of all these things,” he said.

Mr Eudall said the UK is looking at around a 24% drop in areas being planted with crops this year, while crop size and quality will also likely be affected due to the roots “sitting in water, unable to grow and the increased risk of disease”.

Mr Blenkiron said farmers in the South East were facing droughts last year, adding: “This year, we have had 20 times the rain.

“Going from the driest year to the wettest year in the space of one year – that’s quite new,” he said.

“Farmers are on the frontline of facing that volatility now,” he added. “If you’re trying to earn your living from working in conjunction with nature and the weather, and it continues to suppress your efforts, it makes it incredibly frustrating.”