A drought has been declared for some parts of England as temperatures soar amid a fresh heatwave, as the Met Office warned of an upcoming storm in the following days.
The UK saw its hottest ever day last month as temperatures reached over 40C, and the Met Office has put in place a fresh amber heat warning to last until Sunday.
Record-breaking temperatures have brought a lack of rainfall in recent months, with England seeing just 35% (23.1mm) of its average rainfall for July 2022, Wales 53% (52mm), Northern Ireland 51% (45.8mm). Scotland recorded 81% (83.6mm) of average rainfall for July.
Dramatic satellite images have shown the effect of the dry weather, with the UK's usually lush green landscape left dry and beige.
A drought has been declared for the South West, Southern and Central England and the East of England, after the driest July on record for some areas and the driest first half of the year since 1976.
It will see the Environment Agency and water companies implementing more of their plans to manage the impacts of low water levels, which can include actions such as hosepipe bans.
On Friday the Met Office issued a yellow thunderstorm warning, which could bring disruption and flooding after sweltering temperatures.
When will it next rain?
The Met Office has issued a four-day amber warning for extreme heat in parts of England and Wales for Thursday to Sunday.
Forecasters have then issued a yellow storm warning covering much of the UK and Northern Ireland, with warnings that some homes could experience flooding, lightening strikes or strong winds.
Rain is forecast on Monday in northern and eastern areas, giving plants and reservoirs in the area some much needed relief from the dry conditions.
The south has been warned to expect stormy conditions from the same date, with forecasters warning of a "low risk" of thunderstorms forming.
The south east however, is likely to be the last area to see any rainfall, with none predicted in the Met Office's long-range forecast.
The Met Office said: "This period will see the breakdown of the hot, sunny and dry weather of recent days, with conditions becoming more unsettled across the UK.
"Showers will spread from the west and south next week, sometimes heavy and thundery, though drier periods with sunny spells are still likely between them.
"At the same time, temperatures will gradually decrease to closer to normal for August. Later in the period, the more changeable weather will prevail with a risk of heavy showers or thunderstorms continuing, but clear and dry spells in between too.
"Returning to warm or very warm towards the end of the period for much of England and Wales, perhaps becoming locally hot in parts of the south and southeast."
Are we in a drought?
A drought was officially declared in England on Friday morning, with people in the South West, Southern and Central England and East of England being urged to be frugal with water use.
It is the first drought declared in the UK since 2018.
The National Drought Group, made up of Government and agency officials, water companies and other groups such as the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), met on Friday to discuss the prolonged dry weather.
A drought will see the Environment Agency and water companies implementing more of their plans to manage the impacts of low water levels, which can include actions such as hosepipe bans.
Watch: Areas in the UK hit by water shortages as heatwave hits
Thames Water, which supplies water to 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley, became the latest water company to signal it will bring in a hosepipe ban in the face of the hot, dry summer.
South East Water and Southern Water have already announced hosepipe bans – after the driest first half of the year since 1976 saw south east England clocking up 144 days with little or no rain so far in 2022.
Yorkshire Water became the latest company to announce a hosepipe ban, with restrictions coming into effect from August 26.