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Weather service sparks fears of hotter weather, prolonged UK drought




The UK is facing another heat wave, raising new concerns over a prolonged drought and wildfires similar to the ones that ravaged parts of the UK last month.

After Southern Water yesterday lifted a hose pipe ban for millions of customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, millions more are expected to face a ban next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that by the end of next week, temperatures will soar to the mid-30s and there will be little meaningful rain.

Last month was the driest July in Southern England since records began in 1836, with Greater London averaging only 8% of the month.

The warning comes after Britain recorded its hottest day last month, with temperatures reaching 40.2 degrees Celsius in parts of the UK.

The dry and arid conditions have caused raging wildfires in parts of the UK, destroying or damaging dozens of homes in Essex and on the eastern outskirts of London.

Before hot weather is expected next week, the London Fire Brigade has warned people to take extra precautions to prevent fires outdoors as dry weather causes grasslands to disappear like flint boxes.

Lawn in London park turns yellow in heat following record temperatures across the country (Photo Credit: Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Long-term forecasts show that no significant rainfall is expected in the driest, hottest and driest parts of the south,” Meteorological Agency spokeswoman Stephane Dixon said.

He said: Average rainfall in Greater London for July is 3.6mm, 8% of the monthly average, according to interim figures from the Meteorological Administration.

So actually, it’s pretty dry in relation to what you usually see. In August so far, there have been trace amounts.

From mid-August, occasional unstable weather is likely, especially in the north and west, with a brief increase in the likelihood of a thunderstorm and collapse in the south later this month.

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Last month, the LFB reported that July 19, the hottest day in British history, was the busiest day since the blitz of World War II, with crew responding to 1,146 fires.

London Fire Chief Andy Roe has sent a letter to local authorities requesting a temporary ban on barbecues in all public parks and open spaces before warmer weather arrives next week.

Meanwhile, the water company has imposed a hose pipe ban as the first restrictions apply to customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight starting today.

“If the above-average temperatures persist for more than three days, we could see parts of the UK entering a heat wave,” said Steve Willington, the National Weather Service’s chief forecaster.

Many parts of the UK, especially the South, will see temperatures a few degrees higher than average, but these values ​​will be well below the record temperatures seen in mid-July.

Water levels decreased at Ardingly Reservoir in West Sussex before regional restrictions on water use were implemented in hot, dry weather (Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville)

As high pressure builds up, there will be very little rain meaningful to the forecast, especially in the south of England, which has experienced very dry conditions over the past month.

In other parts of the UK, such as northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, a rain-weather front will be limited to high pressure, with some rain in the north-west of England.

Temperatures will rise through the weekend and into the beginning of next week.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Rebekah Sherwin warned next week that while temperatures are unlikely to hit last month’s highs, there will still be hot days.

Officials from the National Drought Group met last week to discuss how to deal with a prolonged drought.

Parts of the UK continue to dry out due to prolonged hot weather and little rainfall (Photo: Reuters/Henry Nicholls Photographer)

There is no drought in the UK yet, but most countries, especially the South and East, already have long-term dry weather conditions.

The Environment Agency and water companies are now drafting a drought plan and urging people to conserve water.

Paul Jeffrey, professor of water management at Cranfield University, said the mandatory water metering for all households in the UK is already overdue and will move towards reducing demand.

He said customers can monitor usage and the meter can provide useful information to manage supply and find leaks.

Professor Jeffrey told i: We had to get used to using water more efficiently, both at home and at work.

We will also see growth in innovative ways to provide water services. This could include recycling water for non-potable use, particularly providing small-scale water services for new neighbors, or integrated stormwater management and water supply systems.

The average water demand per capita in England and Wales has been increasing in recent years, with population growth increasing the amount of water needed to meet household needs.

He said consumption has increased overall due to people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He anticipates that the UK will be able to increase its water supply in the near future through additional storage, desalination and water reuse of reservoirs.

In a recent hosepipe ban announced for users in Pembrokeshire, Welsh Water warned that water resources are approaching drought levels.

Temporary User Ban (TUB) began on August 19th after only 60% of the expected rainfall fell between March and July.

Houses destroyed by wildfires in Wennington, on the outskirts of eastern London, on Britain’s hottest day on record (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“While this does not pose an immediate risk to the area’s water supply, Welsh Water must take steps to ensure that sufficient water remains to continue providing water to its customers and to protect the local environment over the coming months,” the spokesperson said.

Welsh Water said the tankers were put in to respond to the peak demand in parts of the UK during the dry period.

Southern Water also announced a hose pipe ban for customers in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire starting today, and South East Water will bring restrictions in Kent and Sussex starting next Friday.

A hose pipe ban for Londoners, Thames Valley residents and parts of Yorkshire could also loom.

South West Water also said it may have to make difficult decisions to introduce formal restrictions in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said this year’s prolonged drought has caused river flow to be very low in most parts of the UK.

Reservoir levels in central, southeast and southwest Yorkshire in England were dropping with early signs of drought across the country.

The spokesperson said: The recent extreme temperatures are now behind us, but have increased the likelihood of local impacts and put pressure on the aquatic environment and wildlife.

The recent National Drought Group meeting was an important step in agreeing to joint action with water companies to manage water resources to ensure that the needs of water users and the environment are met.




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