Driest July since records began… and STILL no rain in sight

Driest July since records began… and STILL no rain in sight: South of England hit by fewest downpours in nearly 200 years as UK is set for another 86F day tomorrow with sun stretching into mid-August

  • Southern England has had its driest July since records began and there is unlikely to be rain in south in August
  • There was only 5.0mm of rain in July in South-east and central southern England while East Anglia had 5.4mm
  • For both areas it was lowest amount of rainfall in July since Met Office records began almost 200 years ago
  • It is also predicted that the UK is set for another 86F day tomorrow with sun stretching until later this month 

The startling heatwave has brought drought to some parts of England which has seen their driest month since records began, the Met Office has said.

The lowest amount of rainfall in July since 200 years ago, in 1836, has been had in southern England. The South-east and central southern England saw an average of only 5.0mm of rain In July, while East Anglia had 5.4mm. 

Last month was also one of the warmest Julys on record, with a mean temperature across the UK of 16.6C and saw the UK’s new record become 40.3C. 

Tomorrow will see temperatures of 29.4C (86.5F) in the UK with 27C in London, while parts of East Anglia will reach as high as 28C along with central southern England. 

The news comes as infrastructure advisers are calling for a national hosepipe ban and compulsory water metering and the first ban of the year is enforced following the recent heatwave amid of a pictured of dried out grass across the UK and depleted reservoirs. 

The startling heatwave has brought drought to some parts of England which has seen its driest month since records began, the Met Office has said. Pictured: Packed beach in Lyme Regis in Dorset

South-east and central southern England saw an average of only 5.0mm of rain In July, while East Anglia had 5.4mm. Pictured: Two sunbathers in Lyme Regis in Dorset today 

England as a whole saw an average of 23.1mm – the lowest figure for the month since 1935 and also the seventh lowest July total on record.

The UK-wide average did not rank quite so low, with 46.3mm of rainfall – the 19th lowest July total since 1836.

Both July 2021 and 1995 were also an average of 16.6C, with only four other Julys ranked higher. The highest recorded mean UK temperature for July was 17.8C in 2006. Met Office figures for temperature date back to 1884.

Temperatures in London and the South East could then push as high as 29C on Tuesday, before turning sunnier and cooler from the middle of the week.

Greg Dewhurst, a Met Office forecaster, said: ‘There’s going to be a very muggy feel, more so at night, so expect an uncomfortable time sleeping, with temperatures in the late teens.’

He said an area of ‘tropical maritime air’ moving in from the south west will hang over the UK over the coming days. Another forecaster earlier said an ‘odd rumble of thunder may be heard in isolated areas’.

The Met Office also said there will be some rain across western and central parts Wednesday, showers in the north while it will continue to be hot in the southeast.  

Thursday and Friday will turn cool, the weather service added, with sunny spells and showers, which will be mainly confined to the north. 

People enjoying the good weather at Tynemouth beach today on the North East coast as the temperature hit 22C

Greywell Cricket Club in Odiham, Hampshire looks decidedly parched amid the heatwave

As the images show, this July the area from Hull to the Isle of Wight, taking in London and the South-East, was bleached by the scorching heatwave until the ground was as yellow as the Sahara Desert. Ironically, it is reported that one Saharan town experienced five times as much rainfall as the UK. Pictured: July 19 2022

Photographs taken from space for Nasa in July last year, which was called by the Met Office the fifth warmest July on record, show a green and pleasant UK, unaffected by the sort of conditions experienced just last week. Pictured: July 17 2021

A man walks through a dry bank of a tributary to the Dowry Reservoir near Oldham on July 18. Some parts of the South and East of England have had less than 1mm of rain all month

A view of low water levels at Roadford Lake in Devon as temperatures reached 40C for the first time on record in the UK

The National Infrastructure Committee (NIC) has said water needs to start being managed better across the UK, otherwise the country could face a future of queueing for emergency bottled supplies ‘from the back of lorries’.

The Government also needs to invest around £20 billion in the nation’s water supply equipment, NIC chairman Sir John Armitt told The Observer.

WHAT IS BANNED? 

Southern Water have outlined the following activities as being forbidden under their Temporary Use Ban

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe 
  • Cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe
  • Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
  • Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain
  • Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe

‘You have to pay for (water), one way or another,’ he said. ‘That could be investing in new reservoirs or moving water around the country, as well as stopping leaks.’

The committee’s warning – which has been backed by the Rivers Trust – comes as the first hosepipe ban of the year is enforced following the recent heatwave and one of the driest starts to the year on record.

Southern Water is to impose the temporary use ban on its customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from Friday, August 5.

This will mean hosepipes cannot be used to water gardens or clean cars, and ornamental ponds and swimming pools must not be filled.

The restriction is the first to be put in place in the region since 2012, with Southern Water saying river flows are down 25 per cent as a result of one of the driest years on record.

A hosepipe ban was also introduced on Friday on the Isle of Man by Manx Utilities.

The Rivers Trust and the Angling Trust echoed the NIC’s calls for more mindful water use across the country as the situation is predicted to become more dire in the years ahead.

Mark Lloyd, from the Rivers Trust, told The Observer: ‘There needs to be a nationally co-ordinated publicity campaign to reduce water use, and universal water metering.

‘Low flows in rivers are disastrous for wildlife and, ultimately, we need to take much more care of this incredibly precious resource.’

Mark Owen, of the Angling Trust, criticised the Government for its lack of planning for extreme weather, telling The Observer: ‘There is no strategic, coherent, joined-up approach. The reaction is always knee-jerk.

‘What happens when we get to this stage – when it is very dry and hot – is that all of a sudden usage shoots up as people fill paddling pools and water their gardens.’

The parched fairways at Ely Golf Club in Cambridgeshire compared to the well watered greens. Across the UK it has so far been the driest July since 1984, with an average of 1.5in (37.7mm) of rain, and it is the eighth driest in records stretching back to 1836

Data showed there has only been 15.8mm (0.6in) of rain averaged across England, just 24 per cent of the amount that would be expected in an average July. This graph shows data up to Monday

The National Infrastructure Committee (NIC) has said water needs to start being managed better across the UK, otherwise the country could face a future of queueing for emergency bottled supplies ‘from the back of lorries’

A view of Bewl Water Reservoir near Lamberhurst in Kent when it was recently measured at 67 per cent of its capacity as the dry weather continues

The Met Office has said figures also show England has had the driest eight-month period from November 2021 to June 2022 since 1976

Recent low water levels at Llwyn Onn reservoir in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. The Rivers Trust and the Angling Trust echoed the NIC’s calls for more mindful water use across the country as the situation is predicted to become more dire in the years ahead

A spokesperson for The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the Observer: ‘Water companies have a duty to ensure supplies.

‘That’s why we continue to challenge those with a poor record on leakage and are working to ensure they introduce new infrastructure such as reservoirs and water transfers.

‘We’re also taking forward measures to support water efficiency in homes.’

Across the UK it has so far been the driest July since 1984, with an average of 1.5in (37.7mm) of rain, and it is the eighth driest in records stretching back to 1836.

Over that period, just 16.6in (421mm) of rain has fallen across England – less than three-quarters (74 per cent) of the 1991-2020 average of 22.4in (568mm).

This year the temperature reached 38.1C in Santon Downham in Suffolk on July 18 and a record-breaking 40.3C in Coningsby in Lincolnshire on July 19.

South-east England clocked up 24 days of zero average rainfall between June 1 and July 24 this year, Met Office figures show. In the same period in 1976, the region experienced 36 days without rain.

Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: ‘It is not just July that has been dry. Since the start of the year, all months apart from February have been drier than average in the UK too.

‘The result of this is that the winter, spring and summer of 2022 have all seen less than the UK average seasonal rainfall.

‘England has seen the lowest levels during these periods and rainfall totals for the first six months of the year are around 25 per cent below their long-term average, with the driest regions in the east and south-east.’

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