WE could be heading for a summer of drought.
That was the warning today from Huddersfield weather expert Paul Stevens as forecasts predicted more warm, sunny days without rain.
The news comes as figures revealed a record-breaking dry April, after an equally dry March.
And although Yorkshire Water have declared themselves satisfied with water stocks, there are concerns that reservoir levels could be depleted.
Last month saw only 8.5mm of rainfall in Huddersfield – making it one of the fifth driest Aprils in the past 100 years.
And 75% of that rainfall came in just 24 hours, on April 4 and 5.
Since then there has been hardly any rain other than an odd spot of drizzle in the wind.
Stevens, the Salendine Nook meteorologist, said: “We had a few showers in the first few days of the month but since then nothing.
“That is on top of the figures which show how dry it was in Huddersfield in March and you begin to realise we are in an exceptional spell of weather.
“We are certainly very lucky that we had a very wet February which fully replenished the water supplies in our reservoirs.
“You have to realise we are still in Spring, although the weather seems more like summer, and if we are to get a warm, dry summer then the water companies will have to look carefully at their supplies.
“Looking ahead, the rest of this week is set to remain dry and warm and looking further ahead, even if we get a few showers by the weekend, there is likely to be more high pressure and more good weather later in the month”.
The temperatures in April were also well above average, some 4 degrees warmer than normal.
Experts at the government’s centre for hydrology and ecology, which studies water supplies, have warned that the next few weeks could be critical for water companies, farmers and wildlife, and could determine whether there are hosepipe bans later in the year.
Two exceptionally dry months saw reservoir levels declining sharply just when they should be replenishing ahead of the summer months, with some rivers flowing at less than one-third of their usual volume.
Terry Marsh, from the CEH, said: “The recent exceptionally dry six-to seven-week spell has come at a pivotal time for water resources. It could lead to a significant deterioration in the resources outlook, so we need to keep a careful eye on things over the next few weeks”.
Last week, Yorkshire Water said they were confident there would be no restrictions, with supplies at 75% in Pennine reservoirs, but said things could change.