Dolph Cantrijn

Driest February in 37 years

February 2023 will go down on record as having been the driest February since 1986. During the whole of this month just 13.3mm of rain fell at the Royal Meteorological Institute’s (KMI) weather centre in the Brussels municipality of Ukkel. The amount of precipitation for the winter as a whole has been more or less normal. Nevertheless, nature could certainly use a bit of additional rain to help prepare it for the potentially dry summer months that are coming up. 

Despite the late cold spell February was milder than average. The average temperature this month was 6°C, this is almost 2°C higher than the long-term average. At 13.3mm precipitation was just a fifth of what it normally is.

February 2023 the 11th driest February since weather records started to be kept in Belgium in 1833. Last February there were 94.2mm of rainfall. This was followed by an exceptionally dry March. This was a taste of things to come during the bone-dry summer that followed. However, this doesn’t tell us anything about what we can expect this year. 

Winter precipitation levels normal

During the winter as a whole (December to February) the total amount of precipitation that fell from the skies above Ukkel was 214.9mm. This is only just under the long-term average for the winter months of 228.6mm.

It is important that water stocks are replenished during the winter months, because in April the hydrological summer begins and moisture evaporates to a greater extent than during the winter due to the greater intensity of the sun. Although hyhydrologists say that there is still no reason to be concerned, the VRT’s weatherwoman Sabine Hagendoren says that a wet March certainly would not be a bad thing in order to better prepare nature for the potentially dry months to come. 

In recent years there have often been concerns about low levels of ground water. Nature and agriculture are also adversely impacted by long periods of dry weather.  


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