An official state of drought has been declared in some parts of Britain after the driest spring on record.
Much of northern Europe is also suffering with rainfall down 40 per cent in many areas.
In the UK the regions worst hit are major farming regions, leading to fears of a rise in food prices as crops fail.
Farmer Adrian Peck said: “At the moment we’re predicting about 20-25 per cent of the yield down from last year. If we get rain then that’s where we’ll end up. If we don’t get rain then the grain will shrivel and whither away and therefore the harvest will be a lot less.”
The rain has started falling in northern France. But experts say they need a fortnight of continuous precipitation to restore water tables to near normal levels.
The government has agreed a 1 billion euro aid package for farmers.
But they are not the only ones affected.
Low river levels are creating problems for river traffic with boats unable to load to their full capacity. Some nuclear power stations also rely on river water to run their cooling systems.