UK

Driest start to September since 1960, says Met Office

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Media captionAfter a wet August, September so far has been one of the driest in over 50 years. Nina Ridge has more.

The first half of September has been the driest for more than 50 years, the Met Office has said.

According to its data, there was just 6.7mm of rain across the UK in the first 15 days of the month.

That figure is 7% of the September average of 96mm, making it the driest start to September since records began in 1960.

High pressure over the UK is halting the usual advance of low pressure systems in the month, say forecasters.

"Low pressure tends to move in from the Atlantic and the continent, bringing with it unsettled conditions to the UK," said BBC forecaster, Krista Mitchell.

Asked if this was likely to become the driest September on record, she said: "It's just too early to tell. For the rest of this week we are forecasting dry and warm weather for many areas, but there will be some sharp showers particularly later on Thursday and in to Friday."

Sunnier

The statistics also indicate that it has been the driest start to September in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England, the first half of September was drier in both 1997 and 2003.

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Image caption There are no records of a drier start to September says the Met Office

It has also been a sunnier than average start to the month, according to the Met Office.

There were almost 71 hours of sunshine across the UK from 1-15 September, which is 57% of the average for the whole month.

Wales saw an unusually high 90 hours of sunshine, which is 71% of the long-term average for the whole month.

Temperatures too have been higher than usual, say meteorologists.

The mean temperature so far this month has been 13.9C, which is 1.3C above average. Night-time minimums have been 0.7C above the average of 9.6C.

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