It’s been one of the driest summers on record that has led to hosepipe bans and parched reservoirs in Britain.
And the impact of the longest heatwave since 1976 on the country was today revealed in stark aerial photographs of London’s famous parks which have been turned from luscious lawns into arid plains.
The pictures of Green Park, Hyde Park, St James’s Park, Regent’s Park and Clapham Common emerged a fortnight after the UK had its ninth driest June on record, with eight days of no rain recorded during the month.
The grass of Green Park does not live up to the location’s name following the dry weather that has been experienced in Britain
Even Kensington Palace at the western end of Hyde Park in West London is not immune to the dry conditions
The inner circle of Regent’s Park looks rather less green the unusual after the UK had its ninth driest June on record
Clapham Common in South London looks very parched today after Britain had eight days of no rain recorded last month
The grass around WArch in London is looking very dry today, with neighbouring Green Park pictured top right
The grass of the Oval cricket ground outclasses otheer South London parks (left), but Kensington Gardens looks dry (right)
The Serpentine sweeps through an arid Hyde Park, which has been left dry following the lack of rain in recent weeks
The site of the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park looks dry along with most of the rest of the park
A scorched Regent’s Park is pictured today as the prolonged dry spell is forecast to continue in Britain
Rain showers over the past few days have hit parts of the North West of England where United Utilities will impose a hosepipe ban on August 5 for its seven million customers – but the prolonged dry spell is forecast to resume.
Heavy showers swept across the region yesterday, with 14mm (0.6in) of rainfall recorded in Blackpool – and more isolated downpours are expected today, but they should ease before a return to sunshine for the rest of the week.
The wettest place across Britain yesterday was Aberporth on the west coast of Wales where 19.6mm (0.8in) of rain fell yesterday, while the sunniest place was Herstmonceux in East Sussex, which had 12 hours of sunshine.
Temperatures could reach 84F (29C) by Thursday in the South East, after hitting 88.7F (31.5C) in Gravesend, Kent, yesterday. The hottest day of the year so far was June 28 when Porthmadog in North Wales got up to 91.4F (33C).
Hyde Park is pictured today as Britain has one of the driest summers on record that is now leading to hosepipe bans
Rain showers over the past few days have hit parts of the North West of England, but Regent’s Park remains parched today
The lush green Lord’s cricket ground in St John’s Wood is pictured with a parched Regent’s Park
Britain has now had 23 consecutive days of temperatures above 79F (26.1C) up to and including yesterday. Within that 23-day period, there have been 15 days of at least 86F (30C), and three days of at least 90F (32.2C).
The recent heatwave has led a number of water companies to ask customers to be ‘neighbourly’ and use water carefully – while Northern Ireland Water has already introducing a hosepipe ban, which is backed by fines.
The hosepipe ban in England from August 5 will apply to domestic customers who get their water from United Utilities – apart from customers in Carlisle and the north Eden Valley, where supplies remain at reasonable levels.
The Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010 says using a hose to clean a private boat, fill a domestic swimming or paddling pool or pond, or clean walls, windows, paths or patios of a domestic property will also be banned.
How does this year’s UK heatwave compare with 1976?
The heatwave that hit the UK in the summer of 1976 was one of the longest in living memory and triggered the most significant drought for at least the last 150 years. How does this year’s hot spell compare so far?
- In 1976, there were 15 consecutive days when temperatures reached 89.6F (32C) or higher somewhere in the UK, according to the Met Office. So far this year, there have been only two consecutive days when temperatures have hit 89.6F (32C) or higher: June 28 and June 29.
- By this point in 1976 (July 17), Northern Ireland had seen 12 days since the start of June with no recorded rainfall. This year, Northern Ireland clocked up 15 days of zero average rainfall just in June.
- Scotland had seven days of no recorded rainfall between June 1 and July 17, 1976. In 2018, Scotland saw seven days of no rainfall in June alone.
- In England and Wales, an average rainfall of zero was recorded on 16 days between June 1 and July 17, 1976. By contrast, eight days of no rain were recorded between June 1 and June 30, 2018 (the latest available data).
- Temperatures during the heatwave of 1976 peaked at 96.1F (35.6C) in Southampton on June 28 and then 96.6F (35.9C) in Cheltenham on July 3. So far this summer the highest temperature recorded anywhere in the UK is 91.4F (33C) at Porthmadog in Gwynedd on June 28.
- June 2018 was sunnier than June 1976. An average of 239.9 hours of sunshine were recorded across the UK in June 2018, compared with 205.5 hours in June 1976.
- June 2018 was also drier than June 1976. Average rainfall across the UK totalled 37.5mm (1.47in) in June 1976. The provisional figure for this year is 35.4mm (1.39in), which would make June 2018 the ninth driest on record.