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UK weather: The areas which still haven't recovered from last summer's heatwave

Dried mud and old trees at Colliford Lake, where water levels have severely dropped exposing the unseen trees and rocks at Cornwall’s largest lake and reservoir (PA)
Colliford, in Cornwall, pictured last summer, has struggled to recover from the 2022 heatwave. (PA)

After England experienced its driest February in 30 years, households have been urged to remain "vigilant" and to use water carefully.

The country saw an average of just 15.3mm of rainfall for the month – less than a quarter (23%) of the usual level.

Areas in the south and east were affected in particular, with 3.5mm of rain falling in Essex – only 8% of its average level.

It comes after the UK experienced its hottest summer on record last year, which saw reservoirs across the country depleted to worrying levels.

The current dry spell doesn't bode well for 2023, with National Drought Group warning the country is "one hot, dry spell away from drought returning this summer".

Here, Yahoo News takes a look at areas that have struggled to recover from last year's droughts.

Which parts of England are struggling to recover?

Environment Agency
Some places are still struggling to recover from last summer's heatwave. (Environment Agency)

Despite heavy rainfall in January, reservoir levels in some areas have struggled to recover, data from the Environment Agency shows.

This is the latest map, covering January, shows a concerning picture. And with such low rainfall throughout February, the picture is not expected to have improved much in the EA's next report.

Out of the areas on the map, 13 out of 31 areas have reservoir levels below what is considered a "normal" level.

Read more: Vulnerable woman, 55, died of hypothermia alone in freezing cold council home

Colliford Reservoir, in Cornwall, was the worst hit, having only reached 47% of capacity by the end of January.

East Anglia, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have officially been classed as being in a drought since August, suggesting last year's heatwave has had a longer-term impact.

Water levels on the map are also notably low in Abberton, Essex, Grafham, Cambridgeshire, and around the Wales-Cheshire border.

Read more: Climate change is causing droughts everywhere

Cracks can be seen on dried up bed of Tittesworth Reservoir, in Leek, Britain, August 12, 2022.  REUTERS/Carl Recine
Cracks could be seen on dried up bed of Tittesworth Reservoir, in Leek, in August 2022. (Reuters)

'We have to remain vigilant'

The winter dry spell has been caused by high pressure over the UK repelling advancing weather fronts and deterring low pressure systems, which lead to active weather like wind and rain, the Met Office says.

This is why John Leyland, National Drought Group chair and Environment Agency executive director, says it is important for the country not to let its guard down ahead of another potentially blistering summer.

He said: “While most water levels have returned to normal across much of the country, low rainfall in recent weeks highlights the importance of remaining vigilant.

Read more: UK weather: Snow and frost warning as March set to be colder than average

“We cannot rely on the weather alone, which is why the Environment Agency, water companies and our partners are taking action to ensure water resources are in the best possible position both for the summer and for future droughts.

“As ever, it is important that we all continue to use water carefully to protect not just our water resources; but our precious environment and the wildlife that depends on it.”