Extreme Weather 

UK drought: Driest start to summer since records began

After almost two months of intense heat, it’s official – the UK is experiencing its driest start to a summer since modern records began in 1961.

Met Office data shows rainfall for the summer period – June to August – stood at 29.4mm by 16 July.

Should it stay at this rate, it would mean just 60mm of rain in three months, well below the previous driest summer of 1976 when there was 81.8mm.

In the north-west of England, dangerously low reservoir levels means a hosepipe ban will be introduced on 5 August – unless there is a dramatic change in the weather between now and then.

United Utilities, which supplies north-west England, has asked for permission to take more water from three lakes in Cumbria to safeguard supplies.

The east of England has seen just 1% of its long-term average rainfall in July so far, while no region has had more than one-fifth.

Following a winter that saw the “beast from the East” bring severe cold weather to the UK, a build-up of high pressure over the country since late May has led to a summer at the other end of the weather scale.

Satellite images of England: left May, right June

This summer’s heatwave has had a dramatic impact on the UK’s landscape, turning previously lush parks and playing fields yellow.

London playing fields

Ancient Discoveries:

The stifling weather is also revealing “long lost” settlements across Wales as their outlines show as crop marks in the heat.

Prehistoric settlements have in Monmouthshire along with a suspected Roman fortress.

“All around Wales we are adding in new bits of history,” said Mr Driver, who uses a light aircraft to find sites.

Crop marks of prehistoric enclosure in the Vale of Glamorgan plus the faint footings of a suspected Roman villa

No letup in sight

Next week will again be very warm and mainly dry, with the possibility of a few thunderstorms breaking out as the heat builds.

During August, there is potential for further hot conditions with the chance of a few heavy showers or thunderstorms at times.

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