England had its driest July since 1911 amid the heat wave, according to the Met Office.
So far this month, the latest data shows that there has been only 15.8 mm (0.6 in) of rain on average, just 24% of the amount expected in average July.
At this point – until July 26 – the country would have expected more than three-quarters of the month’s rains to have already fallen.
Across the UK it was the driest July since 1984 so far, with an average of 37.7mm (1.5in) of rain, and it is the eighth driest in records dating back to 1836.
UK weather: summer heatwave 2022
With five days remaining, July 2022 is currently the second driest July for England since records began in 1836, behind only 1911.
This year the temperature hit 38.1C at Santon Downham, Suffolk on July 18 and a record high of 40.3C at Coningsby, Lincolnshire on July 19.
There is still time for things to change slightly over the remaining days of the month, but the Met Office warns that there are few significant rain forecasts for the south and east of England, there is so not much prospect for significant improvement in the next week or two. .
Forecasters said it was not just a dry July, but figures also show England had the driest eight-month period from November 2021 to June 2022 since 1976, when the country struggled against a severe drought.
During this period, just 421mm (16.6in) of rain fell over England, less than three quarters of the 1991-2020 average of 568mm (22.4in).
Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: ‘It wasn’t just July that was dry.
“Since the start of the year, every month except February has also been drier than average in the UK.
“The result is that the winter, spring and summer of 2022 all saw less seasonal average rainfall in the UK.
“England has seen the lowest levels during these periods and total rainfall for the first six months of the year is around 25% below its long-term average, with the driest regions at east and southeast.”
But the Met Office has warned against comparing 2022 too closely with 1976 because, despite the drought trend, England received 30% more rain in the first six months of the year than it 46 years ago.
Figures for July show Scotland had closer to average rainfall in the north and west, but there were drier conditions in the south and east of the country.
Overall, Scotland received 71% of the month’s average rainfall, Wales 39% and Northern Ireland 43%. The most extreme dry conditions are found in East Anglia and South East England.
The figures come after officials met with water company representatives and farmers to discuss how to deal with the dry conditions, amid warnings that England could be in drought in August if the weather hot and dry continues.
July also saw above-average temperatures for much of the month, including heat wave conditions around July 10-13 and from July 16, with exceptionally hot July 18-19 – when temperatures peaked. climbed above 40°C for the first time on record.
The first provisional statistics for July show the average maximum temperature for the month is 21.7C to 2C higher than the average for the month and one of the five hottest Julys on record.
Heat waves are becoming more frequent, longer and more intense due to climate change, which is also expected to bring other changes such as hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters in the UK. United.
Mr McCarthy added: “The Met Office climate change projections show an increasing trend towards hotter and drier summers for the UK, with the driest regions expected to be in the south and east. is.
“While trends in summer temperature and heat waves are very apparent in climate records over the past few decades, the wide variability in our precipitation means that it is too early to be able to detect summer precipitation patterns.”
The National Farmers Union said the prolonged dry weather was extremely difficult for many farms and stressed the urgent need for the government and its agencies to better plan and manage water resources.
NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “The lack of rain means crops such as sugar beets and maize are showing signs of stress, as farmers struggle to irrigate vegetables from open field and potatoes.
“To help, the Environment Agency has launched measures to support flexible withdrawals, which will potentially give some farmers the option of trading water volumes with other farmers.
“The dry weather has also severely hampered grass growth, which could affect winter feed supplies, adding additional costs to livestock businesses at a time when costs continue to rise dramatically. meaningful.”