Britain’s longest heatwave in five years is set to last another week, with water companies urging people to use water sparingly.
The Met Office forecast another very hot and dry day in much of the UK on Sunday, with temperatures predicted to reach as high as 32C or 33C around London and 29C in the north-west.
Temperatures were forecast to dip slightly from Monday, but were still expected to remain well above average for this time of year.
Greg Dewhurst, a Met Office forecaster, said: “As the week goes on it will generally stay dry and settled across much of the UK, but it will tend to be a bit cloudier than it has been, with perhaps an increasing risk of some rain towards the end of the week.”
The spell of hot weather is the longest the UK has experienced since the summer of 2013, when there were 19 consecutive days of temperatures over 28C. As of Sunday, there had been 15 consecutive days of temperatures over 28C.
The driest summer on record was 1995, with 64.7ml of rain in June, July and August. So far this year, an average of 35.4ml of rain was recorded up to the end of June, with two months of summer to go. Provisional statistics suggest it was one of the UK’s five warmest Junes since 1910.
United Utilities, which provides water to north-west England, warned that the prolonged hot weather meant the region’s reservoir stores had decreased. “The reducing reservoir levels are not surprising given the ongoing lack of rainfall and exceptionally high demand,” said a spokesperson.
“We are still encouraging our customers to voluntarily use water efficiently, by avoiding the use of water-hungry devices, particularly outside in the garden. However, if demand does not reduce in the next few days we’ll have no choice but to introduce enforced restrictions.”
Around Manchester, which rarely go long without rain, there have been prolonged moorland fires as the ground is so dry. A fire near Saddleworth Moor has been raging since Sunday 24 June and another on Winter Hill near Bolton was declared a major incident the following Saturday, when two fires merged.
The hottest UK heatwave on record remains that of 1976, when there were 15 consecutive days of 32C or more. A top temperature of 35.6C was recorded on 28 June that year in Southampton, which remains the UK’s June record. A temperature of 35.9C was recorded on 3 July in Cheltenham.