Some regions have clocked up dozens of rain-free days so far in 2018

Parts of England have spent the equivalent of around two months of 2018 without any recorded rainfall.

South-east England clocked up 64 days of zero average rainfall between January and July, while central England had 54 days.

The last time both regions recorded a higher number of rain-free days in this seven-month period was the mid-1990s.

Provisional figures from the Met Office show how this year's hot, dry weather has taken its toll on areas of the UK.

In south-east England, 11 consecutive days with no rainfall were recorded from June 20 to June 30 - the longest uninterrupted dry spell in the region since May/June 1997.

Days with zero average rainfall across England & Wales
(PA Graphics)

The 64 days of zero average rainfall from January to July is already higher than the number recorded in south-east England for the whole of 2017 (58 days).

In central England, nine consecutive days of zero average rainfall were recorded from June 21 to June 29, followed by 0.01mm of rain on June 30, then 10 further days without rain (July 1 to July 10).

This region has also already recorded more rain-free days in January-July (54) than it had during the whole of 2017 (48).

Other areas of the country have suffered from the dry spell.

North-east England recorded 47 days of zero average rainfall from January to July - the highest for these seven months since 2003.

North-west England & north Wales saw 45 days - again, the highest for January-July since 2003.

And south-west England & south Wales recorded 39 days, the highest number for this period since 1996.

Across the whole of England and Wales, zero average rainfall was recorded on 23 days from January-July 2018.

This included nine consecutive days from June 21 to June 29 - the longest uninterrupted run since December 3-11 1991.

The current heatwave will come to an end this week, bringing much needed rain to southern and central England.

Frank Saunders, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "After weeks of predominantly high temperatures and very little rainfall for many parts of the country, high pressure is finally breaking down, allowing a cold front to introduce cooler, fresher air from the Atlantic to all parts of the UK.

"Temperatures will still often be in the low to mid-20s Celsius in eastern parts of England for the rest of this week, which although is above average for the time of year, will be notably cooler than recent weeks."

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