Edinburgh ‘driest place in UK’ with least rain in April

People enjoying the sunny weather at Portobello Beach. Picture; Greg Macvean
People enjoying the sunny weather at Portobello Beach. Picture; Greg Macvean
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Business is booming in the hosepipe industry after a lack of rainfall saw Edinburgh return its driest April on record.

While other areas of Scotland remained rainy, latest Met Office figures show the Capital had a fraction of its usual April rainfall last month.

Just 3.2mm of rain fell at Gogarbank and 4mm at the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh, seven and ten per cent of their respective monthly averages.

As well as being the month’s driest place in the UK, it marks the Botanic Garden’s lowest level of rain since records began in 1959.

Met Office meteorologist Emma Sharples said the dry spell was due to wind from the north and east preventing Atlantic weather systems from bringing more unsettled weather.

She said: “We have had some particularly fine days, more so in the west than the east but even in the east there’s been some warm sunny days.

“It’s not uncommon to see fine weather in May but it’s been quite prolonged and comes on the back of the fine month.”

But things could soon be about to change, with rain set to move in later this week.

She added: “It does look as though the pattern is slightly changing as we go through the second part of this week. It will perhaps take until Friday until Scotland sees some rain.

“Then it looks a bit more mixed through the weekend but it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a prolonged bout of [rainy] weather, it’s going to be more on and off.”

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Despite a slight rise in temperature – with Scotland’s average April temperature coming in at 6.7C – fears of a potential drought have proved unfounded, with Scottish Water saying it had no issues with customer supply.

David Knott, curator of the Living Collection at the Botanics, said last month’s dry spell was not a surprise and had been compounded by a relatively dry winter.

He said: “What that means is plants which will normally be expecting April showers don’t get April showers which means we have to start irrigating more frequently and for longer. Because it’s been dry for so long it will take a considerable amount of rain to redress the balance.

“It’s great for visitor numbers because everybody likes to be out and about when the weather is warm and sunny.

“What would have made the conditions worse would have been a heatwave combined with the dry weather. I think it will perhaps impact on anybody that’s growing crops.”

Matthew Bailey, store manager at Dobbies Edinburgh, said they had definitely noticed a difference.

He said: “Our sales of hosepipes and water sprinklers have been fantastic.

“Normally our sales peak in July time for watering products but we have seen a massive uplift for this time of year.

“It’s almost like the season has started early for us. It’s great people are getting out and making the most of the weather.”

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The UK as a whole experienced just 47 per cent of the expected rainfall.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said: “Given the unseasonably dry weather Scotland is currently experiencing, water levels in river and lochs have dropped and soils are beginning.

“There is the potential for an environmental impact on rivers and burns if conditions worsen as activities such as irrigation will start to place a greater demand on these water resources.

“Generally parts of the east coast received around 20 per cent of average rainfall during April with some areas receiving less half of that.

“For urban centres, such as Edinburgh, public water supplies are generally fine, however a watching brief by SEPA and Scottish Water will continue over the coming months, to ensure contingency plans are in place in case water levels in our reservoirs drop significantly.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk