A toxic cocktail of hail, torrential rain and 48 hours of thunder and lightning could cause a ‘danger to life’ in Britain from fast flowing or deep floodwater, forecasters warned today.
The Met Office has activated weather warnings for rain in southern England, the Midlands and Wales for today and tomorrow, and has also alerted the public to ‘frequent lightning and large hail’ both today and tomorrow.
Up to 3.1in (80mm) of rain in just two to three hours is expected in some areas of the country today, followed by another 2.4in (60mm) in a few hours tomorrow, which could also affected the North West and Northern Ireland.
The Met Office expects thunderstorms to affect southern parts of the UK from late this morning through the rest of the day
The Met Office has issued weather warnings for rain in parts of England and Wales tomorrow (left) and on Friday (right)
The intense rainfall expected over parts of England and Wales this evening is shown in this Ventusky graphic
The Environment Agency has imposed 30 ‘be prepared’ flood alerts for England – mostly in the South, including ten within the Greater London area – with its teams working to clear debris from rivers.
The average rainfall in the West Midlands for the entire month of May is 2.2in (55mm), while it is closer to 2.3in (59mm) in parts of the South East, but this could be well beaten both today and tomorrow.
The Met Office expects thunderstorms to affect southern parts of the UK from late this morning through the rest of the day, and has warned flooding of homes and businesses ‘could happen quickly’.
There could also be damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds – and fast flowing or deep floodwater is possible, causing a ‘danger to life’, according to forecasters.
Weather experts have also said spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures – and there is a chance of delays to train and bus services where flooding or lightning strikes occur.
Both the pollen count (left) and ultraviolet radiation levels (right) are high for many parts of England and Wales today
Further rain and thunderstorms are expected tomorrow, although temperatures will hit 72F (22C) in the South East of England
Brighton beach was sparsely populated yesterday compared to normal as the poor weather kept holidaymakers indoors
A handful of people try to make the best of a damp and misty day by the seaside in the Dorset resort of Swanage yesterday
A woman shelters under a newspaper as she walks across Westminster Bridge in London during heavy rain on Tuesday
Lightning strikes over London last Sunday as the capital was hit by severe weather over the bank holiday weekend
There are even fears that power cuts might occur and other services to homes and businesses could be lost, while the Met Office is also warning that some communities might become cut off if roads flood.
Forecasters say there is the potential for 1.2in (30mm) to 1.6in (40mm) of rain to fall in an hour and perhaps as much as 2.4in (60mm) to 3.1in (80mm) in two to three hours over the warning area today.
Meanwhile there is a separate rain warning in place from midnight to 9pm tomorrow, with the Met Office warning that thunderstorms are likely to affect southern and western parts of the UK throughout the day.
Forecasters expect thunderstorms across southern England and Wales to move north-west towards Northern Ireland during Friday, which will be replaced by scattered thunderstorms persisting into the early evening.
These are likely to bring further torrential rain to some places tomorrow with the potential for 0.8in (20mm) to 1.2in (30mm) of rain to fall in an hour and perhaps as much as 2.4in (60mm) in a few hours.
Yesterday’s highest and lowest UK temperatures were both in the Highlands, with 78.6F (25.9C) at Achnagart, and 39F (3.9C) in Kinbrace. The wettest place was Westonbirt in Gloucestershire with 1in (25.2mm) of rain.