Droughts have been declared in several parts of England as high temperatures continue to fry the country.

The affected regions are parts of southwest, southern and central England and all of eastern England.

The announcement means restrictions will be placed on domestic and commercial water use for residents in those areas.

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Many parts of the country are experiencing sweltering temperatures and little rainfall, with an amber extreme heat warning in place until Sunday.

By Friday afternoon, temperatures are set to soar as high as 35C (95F) in southern areas of the UK, which will be hotter than the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.

The ongoing dry conditions – after the driest July on record for some areas and combined with last month’s record-breaking heatwave – have depleted rivers, reservoirs and aquifers.

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It has also dried up soils, hitting agriculture, water supplies and wildlife and raising the risk of wildfires.

Sky News analysis showed this year has been considerably drier than usual in two-thirds of Great Britain’s counties.

Read more:
Hosepipe bans: What are the rules – and what are the exemptions?
What and where is the ‘exceptional’ fire risk – and how to avoid one

Although all droughts are caused by a period of low rainfall, there is no single definition for one, meaning each is different.

The nature, timing and effects varying according to location and which sectors are affected such as public water supply, agriculture, the environment or industry are considered when declaring a drought for an area.

The National Drought Group, made up of senior decision makers from the Environment Agency, government, water companies and key representative groups, met earlier on Friday to discuss their response.

There are four stages of drought:

Prolonged dry weather stage (yellow) – where the possible impacts include a heightened risk of environmental damage such as a risk to wildlife and plants
Drought stage (amber) – stress on public and private water supply sources, reduced agricultural and horticultural crop yields, localised wildfires and long-term habitat and wildlife impacts
Severe drought stage (red) – widespread long-term environmental damage, widespread wildfires, failure of crops or plants and shortage of fodder and drinking water for livestock, failure of public and private water supplies
Recovering drought stage (amber) – which depends on the type and severity of the preceding drought

The two most recent droughts were declared in 2018 and a more severe one in 2011.