OXFORD is set to experience its driest June and July combined for nearly 200 years as the city continues to bake in the sunshine.
Records from Oxford University's Radcliffe Meteorological Station show that so far this month 1.7 millimetres of rain fell in the city, a stark difference to last July’s total of 101.3mm.
So far the combined June and July rainfall is 19mm, making it the second driest on record at the station. Last year’s total was 253mm.
And even if, as predicted, we get some rain next week, it’s set to be the driest June and July since 1825 when 1.3mm of rain was recorded over the two months. The driest ever was in 1800 when just 0.8mm fell.
PhD student Ian Ashpole, who takes the measurements for the station at Green Templeton College, in Woodstock Road, said: “It’s currently set to be the driest July since 1825 and third driest on record.
“It has been very warm too, but the current mean air temperature has been exceeded in 11 previous Julys, most recently 2006.
Mr Ashpole, who is studying dust storms in the Sahara Desert, added: “In terms of rainfall, June-July combined is even more extreme, being the second driest June-July period on record, after 1818.
“This will probably remain the case even if there are some showers before the end of the month, whereas the ‘third driest July’ stat is more sensitive to odd showers.”
Temperatures in Oxford have soared over the last two weeks with the station recording a high of 30.8C on July 13.
As a result people have been looking for ways to cool down. Only one type of paddling pool is left in stock at Toys R Us in Botley Road, Oxford. Store manager Michelle Fuller said: “Last year we had enough paddling pools because we didn’t have as much sun as this year.”
“We have certainly had a bit more demand for them.”
The Met Office has reduced its heatwave warning for the South East from level three – a 90 per cent probability of heatwave conditions – to level two – a risk of 60 per cent or above for one or more regions.
Sarah Holland, a Met Office forecaster, said: “It has been very warm over the last few days. Although warm temperatures continue, they dip a little over the weekend.
“There will be more cloud around so it will be cooler.
“Next week we see a return to high temperatures. On Tuesday it will be more unsettled with some light showers.”
Thames Water pledged on Friday that there will not be a hosepipe ban this summer. The company said its reservoirs are full following the county’s wettest ever year in 2012.
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 16 summer incidents such as hedge fires and bonfires last weekend.
Devastating wildfires have ripped through parts of Wales and Scotland as the longest heatwave for seven years spread across Britain.
The weather is believed to have caused up to 760 deaths, and experts warned the hottest day of the year is yet to come.
The mercury – which reached 32.2C on Wednesday – is expected to rise to about 33C next week. Weathermen said there was a slim chance it could even hit 35C in the South on Tuesday or Wednesday.
July 2013 total so far: 1.7mm. This is currently the third driest on record after 0.8mm recorded in 1800 and 1.3mm recorded in 1825.
July 2012 total: 101.3mm.
June and July 2013 total so far: 19mm. This is the second driest June July on record after 14.7mm recorded in 1818 and 31.4mm in 1976.
June and July 2012: 253mm.
The highest recorded temperature in July 2013 so far is 30.8C, last Saturday.
The mean air temperature in July 2013 so far is 18.9C, which is the warmest since 2006 and 1.8C warmer than July 2012.