Norfolk and the wider East Anglian region have had the driest July since records began, according to the Met Office.

East Anglia had only 5.4mm of rain last month, which has left the region at risk of facing drought conditions.

This is the lowest amount of rainfall in the month of July the east of England has had for nearly 200 years, since records began in 1836.

The figures also show that last month was provisionally one of the warmest Julys on record, with a mean temperature across the UK of 16.6C.

Dr Mark McCarthy of the National Climate Information Centre, said: “July 2022 has been a significantly dry month for southern and eastern England.

“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 record dry July for some areas comes on the back of the driest eight-month period from November and June since 1976 in England, with warnings the country could be in drought this month if the conditions continue.

Much of the region already has low river flows, affecting the quality and quantity of water, with impacts on farmers and other water users, as well as wildlife.

Farmers have reported stress to crops including sugar beet and maize and challenges irrigating field veg and potatoes, while the dry weather has severely hampered grass growth which could hit supplies of feed for winter.

The Environment Agency has issued a warning for people not to use water unnecessarily amid growing concern over the exceptionally low level of rivers across the country.

Some rain is forecast for this week for northern and western areas of the UK, but few of the showers are expected to reach the south and the east, the Met Office said.

The dry and warm weather of July brought widespread wildfires across Norfolk, causing significant damage to farmland and also destroying several homes.