July 2022 was the driest July for England since 1935 - and the driest ever recorded for Dorset.

High pressure dominated the UK for much of July, pushing any Atlantic influence, and therefore much of the rain, into the northwest and allowing temperatures to build elsewhere.

Overall, the UK saw just 56 per cent (46.3mm) of its average rainfall for July, making it the driest July in over 20 years (with 1999 recording 46.1 mm) and continues a run of all months, bar February, being drier than average in 2022 so far, reports the Met Office.

Rainfall has not been distributed evenly in July, as is often the case in the UK, though the contrast has been more stark than usual.

England had just 35 per cent (23.1mm) of its average rainfall for the month, Wales 53 per cent (52mm), Northern Ireland 51 per cent (45.8mm) and Scotland topped the billing with 81 per cent (83.6mm).

South West Farmer: July 2022 rainfall amount average percentage of 1991 - 2020 average. Picture: Met OfficeJuly 2022 rainfall amount average percentage of 1991 - 2020 average. Picture: Met Office

Regions in the south and east were especially dry, with southern England reporting its driest July on record in a series that goes back to 1836, with 10.5mm of rain, which is just 17 per cent of its average rainfall.

In addition, 13 counties across southern and eastern England reported their driest July on record, including Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Kent and Dorset.

Northern Scotland received 98 per cent (99.4mm) of its July rainfall, with this being the only place there were rainfall totals modestly above their long-term averages for a few regions.

Dr Mark McCarthy of the National Climate Information Centre said: “July 2022 has been a significantly dry month for southern England, only 10.5mm of rain has been provisionally recorded on average, less than the previous record of 10.9mm set in 1911.

"The dominant weather pattern for the month has only allowed interludes of rain into northern areas of the UK, with areas further south largely getting any rainfall from isolated and fleeting showers in a month that will ultimately be remembered for extreme heat.”

The Environment Agency has said that impacts from dry weather are expected to continue as the National Drought Group met.

While being a dry month, July 2022 went down in UK climate history as the first time the UK exceeded temperatures of 40°C on 19 July, during an intense heatwave where the UK saw its new record high temperature of 40.3°C at Coningsby, Lincolnshire. Wales also recorded its highest temperature with 37.1°C at Hawarden, and Scotland followed suit with a record high figure of 34.8°C at Charterhall.

That record-breaking heatwave wasn’t the only heat reported in the month, with notably warm periods either side of the unprecedented heatwave, resulting in average maximum temperatures for July sitting in the top ten for England, with 23.5°C the average maximum temperature, some 2.3°C higher than average.

Warm days were coupled with warm nights, with northern England provisionally setting a new average daily minimum temperature record for the month, with 12.5°C, which is 1.3°C above its average.

As a result, mean temperatures for the UK were well above average, standing at 16.6°C, which is 1.3°C above average and the joint-fifth warmest July in a series which dates back to 1884.

With seven months of the year’s statistics now having being reported, mean temperatures have been higher than average for every month so far this year, with the average mean temperature at 9.7°C making the first seven months of this year the second warmest on record after 2014.

However, the first half of the year does not dictate the second half of the year and so it is too early to say how these statistics will compare by December.