A drought has been declared in Suffolk as temperatures are expected to rise further this weekend.

At 12pm on Friday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced that large parts of the country have been moved into drought status.

After a summer of extreme heat where temperatures hit record highs in the county, Suffolk, along with the rest of East Anglia, has been included in the drought area.

The Environment Agency will move drought into eight of its fourteen areas: Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and south London, Hertfordshire and north London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and the east Midlands.

The agency met earlier this summer to discuss the lack of rainfall and decided to put the country in “prolonged dry weather status”, the first of four emergency dry weather stages, and one step before drought.

Today, the country has entered the second stage.

Water rationing can be expected across the country, but a hosepipe ban is not yet in place in Suffolk.

Water minister Steve Double said: “We are currently experiencing a second heatwave after what was the driest July on record for parts of the country.

"Action is already being taken by the Government and other partners including the Environment Agency to manage the impacts.

“All water companies have reassured us that essential supplies are still safe, and we have made it clear it is their duty to maintain those supplies.

“We are better prepared than ever before for periods of dry weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including impacts on farmers and the environment, and take further action as needed.”

This week, Suffolk has experienced another week of extreme heat, with an amber weather warning being put in place across the county by the Met Office.

Over the weekend, temperatures are expected to hit 32C in west Suffolk towns such as Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Sudbury.

Last month, Suffolk recorded its record temperature with 38.4C in Santon Downham.