Another one of the worst kept secrets of May 2020 was the fact that it had been very dry across many parts of England and Wales, and extremely dry across the south east, with Benson in Oxfordshire only reporting a trace of rainfall. Rainfall was closer to average across the far northwest of Scotland, which with the help of the sunshine of the last few days produced a spectacular show of bluebells.
Drought conditions exist across many stations in the south and east of England. This is generally termed a partial drought, but at Benson and Church Lawford this is classed as an absolute drought.
Drought: Dryness due to lack of RAINFALL. Certain definitions have been adopted inMeteorological Glossary 1963
order to obtain comparable statistical information on the subject of droughts.
Thus an ‘absolute drought’ is a period of at least 15 consecutive days, to none of
which is credited 0.01 in., or 0.2 mm, or more of rainfall. A ‘partial drought’ is a
period of at least 29 consecutive days, the mean daily rainfall of which does not
exceed 0.01 in., or 0.2 mm. A ‘dry spell’ is a period of at least 15 consecutive days
to none of which is credited 0.4 in., or 1.0 mm or more of rainfall. During the
62 years 1858-1919, there were 69 absolute droughts and 163 dry spells at Camden
Square, London. The definitions of absolute drought and partial drought were
introduced in British Rainfall (1887) while that of dry spell was first used in
British Rainfall (1919).