Submitted by Steve Turner on
July was mainly cool and cloudy, although changeable as ridges of high-pressure brought typical summer conditions at times. Most notably, a short exceptionally hot spell on the 31st led to the third highest UK temperature (for any month) of 37.8°C at Heathrow. July rainfall totals were above average for the UK, driven by wet weather in northern and western Britain whilst being below average across the south. This spatial distribution was also reflected in soil moisture deficits (SMDs) and river flows, with saturated soils and above average river flows in the north and west; whilst in the south and east, soils were drier than average and river flows normal to below normal. Groundwater levels fell and were generally in the normal range or below with the exception of central and northern England where they were mainly above normal to exceptionally high. Reservoir stocks for England & Wales returned to near‑average, although impoundments in southern England and the south-west remained around 10% below average. With above‑average rainfall in July and the likelihood of an enhanced north-west/south-east rainfall gradient in August, continued high temperatures and high water demand, the risk of localised water resources pressure and agricultural stress for the coming months, if somewhat lessened, does remain in the south and east.