England and France had their driest July in decades

“England received just 35 per cent (23.1mm) of its average rainfall for the month,” Britain’s national weather service, the Met Office, said in a statement on Monday.

The south and east of the country were particularly affected by the lack of rainfall. Southern England recorded its driest July on record since 1836, with just 17% of average rainfall, according to the Met office.

The Woodhead Reservoir in Longdendale, England on July 19.

Like the rest of Europe, July saw a record breaking heatwave hit the British Isles. The UK has experienced temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time, with a record temperature of 40.3 degrees Celsius set on July 19 in Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

In France, there was only 7.8 mm of rain in July, Christophe Béchu, Minister for Ecological Transition, told FranceInfo radio on Monday.

Boats sit on the dry bed of Lac des Brenets on the border of France and Switzerland on July 18.

“We have an 88% deficit compared to what would have been necessary,” Béchu added.

The July heat wave caused wildfires to rage across the west and south of the country, and another heat wave is expected to hit France this week.

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The southwest is expected to potentially reach 40 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, according to Météo France, the country’s meteorological service.

France sets record amid heat wave in Western Europe

Forest fires have broken out in southern France, with the largest in the Gard department destroying more than 350 hectares (more than 860 acres) of forest on Sunday evening, according to local firefighters.

Nearly half of European territory, including the United Kingdom, is “threatened” by drought, researchers from the European Commission’s Joint Research Center warned on July 18.

A “staggering chunk” of 44% of EU and UK territory is under drought warning, with 9% under drought alert, researchers have said.