Last month’s scorching heatwave was a record breaking one, which resulted in Scotland and Northern Ireland recording their third warmest July ever, and the UK’s joint fifth warmest.
The mean temperature for July 2021 in the UK was 16.6C, which put it level with July 1995’s figure, according to provisional Met Office figures.
This is still some way short of the record figure of 17.8C in 2006.
Scotland recorded a mean of 15.1C and Northern Ireland at 16.4C saw their third warmest Julys, while Wales at 16.5C saw its ninth warmest and England at 17.5C its 11th warmest.
The Met Office issued its first ever extreme heat warning last month, with western areas in particular getting the most consistently hot conditions.
Forecasters said Scotland and Northern Ireland were far drier and sunnier than average for July.
Northern Ireland broke its all-time temperature record with a figure of 31.3C recorded at Castlederg on July 21.
Both countries saw 25% more sunshine hours than average, with 175.6 sunshine hours for Scotland, and 175.5 for Northern Ireland.
Scotland got 67% (66.4mm) of its average rainfall in the month.
But intense summer downpours affected some areas of the country and resulted in some places recording twice their average rainfall for July.
The Isle of Wight had its seventh wettest July on record – and its wettest since 1920 – with 115.4mm of rain.
Prolonged periods of dry weather has led to a warning of water scarcity in rivers and lochs in parts of Scotland.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said areas of Caithness, Sutherland and Dumfries and Galloway were among the worst affected and has urged businesses and households to help save water.
Sepa added that Scotland experienced an “extremely dry” April and less than half (45%) the normal rainfall for June.
It said that while the beginning of July saw some locally intense rain, it was not enough to lead to a sustained improvement.
Drier conditions are expected to become more “prevalent” in the second half of August according to forecasts.
Sepa said extreme weather was becoming “more and more common” as a consequence of climate change.
There have been warnings of “significant scarcity” for the Wigtown area of Galloway and Wick in Caithness.
There is a warning of “moderate scarcity” for the Western Isles, Orkney and the Clyde, Ayr and Irvine areas.
Businesses extracting water from rivers and burns to irrigate crops, vegetables or fruit have been asked to take measures such as irrigating at night to reduce the chance of water evaporating, and ensuring pipes are not leaking.
Households have been asked to help save water by not leaving taps running unnecessarily in kitchens and bathrooms.
Last month, people watering plants and filling paddling pools pushed the demand for water by 200 million litres a day over the course of a week.
Scottish Water said hot weather had caused demand to soar across the country.
Loch Ness, Scotland’s largest freshwater loch by volume, also dropped to its lowest level in five years last month.