DESPITE the prolonged heatwave, July is only the third warmest on record according to the Met Office.

The provisional statistics show July 2018, with a mean average temperature of 17.2 degrees, is behind the 2006 record of 17.8 degrees, and also the 17.3 degrees in 1983.

July 2006 stands as the warmest on record, with an average UK daily maximum of 23.2 degrees.

However, it has been a record breaking month for the south east of England with the average daily maximum temperature reaching 26.2 degrees, the highest July for the region – just exceeding 2006’s previous record of 26.1 degrees.

Dr Mark McCarthy, manager of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: “The UK experienced its hottest ever May this year, and its second hottest June.

“For a large part of July it looked as if we might see another record-breaking month, but lower temperatures in the north and west and the storms at the end of the month meant that was not the case.

“However, temperatures were well above average and rainfall much lower, particularly in parts of England, continuing the pattern of an unusually warm, dry summer overall.”