UK weather: Warnings over flooding as torrential rain forecast

Torrential rain and thunderstorms have been forecast for England and Wales with some areas warned to expect sudden flooding.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday with possible travel disruption, power cuts and lightning.

On Monday, stormy conditions brought rain and flooding to the South West.

The heatwave was the longest in 15 years in south-east England, with temperatures passing the threshold of 28C on nine consecutive days.

Visitors to the National Waterways Museum use umbrellas during a spell of rainIMAGE SOURCE,CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGES
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After a lack of rain for weeks across much of the UK, heavy rain has hit much of the country.

Weeks of little rain caused drought across parts of the UK but the next few days is unlikely to ease the parched conditions because rainwater struggles to permeate dry ground, meaning it will run off the dehydrated surface and lead to flash flooding in some areas.

The yellow warning for thunderstorms are in place for most of England and Wales on Tuesday, and southern England on Wednesday.

BBC Weather’s Carol Kirkwood said it will be “hit and miss” where they strike, with some areas seeing no storms but others experiencing torrential downpours.

The heaviest of the rain on Tuesday morning was in eastern and southern Scotland, where a yellow warning was in place until 10:00 BST.

The rain is expected to move south-eastwards across the country.

On Wednesday, the yellow warning will remain for southern England but the storms will have moved away by Thursday.

Rain in Ellesmere Port, CheshireIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES

Compared to the last few days, temperatures will be lower, according to the Met Office’s Greg Dewhurst. But it will remain humid in some areas, with a maximum temperatures of about 27C.

The rain is likely to become more concentrated in central and southern parts of England, with hail and frequent lightning and flash flooding possible.

Flooding of homes and businesses could happen quickly, with fast flowing or deep floodwater possible, causing a danger to life.

But hosepipe bans are set to remain in place on the Isle of Man and in Kent and Sussex, and Thames Water has said one will come into force in “the middle of next week”.

“We’ve had less than 65% of the usual rainfall in this year,” Cathryn Ross, the body’s strategy and regulatory affairs director said.

“We’ve had an extraordinarily hot dry July and August and frankly if we were going to avoid a ban at this stage it would probably have to drizzle for about three months, and it’s probably not going to do that.”

Thames Water covers Greater London, the Thames Valley, Gloucestershire and north Wiltshire.

Handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @WeatherSteff of members of staff at The Milky Way in Devon, clearing out floodwater inside the premises, as heavy rain and flooding have hit areas in Cornwall and Devon as thunderstorms sweep across south-west and east England. Picture date: Monday August 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story WEATHER Floods. Photo credit should read: Steff Gaulter/PA WireIMAGE SOURCE,PA MEDIA
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Staff at The Milky Way adventure park in Devon clearing out floodwater inside the premises
Flooding on a roundabout in Truro, CornwallIMAGE SOURCE,OLIVER DOBBS
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A roundabout in Cornwall was flooded but the water quickly drained away

On Monday, footage on social media showed a roundabout in Truro, Cornwall, quickly flooding as showers moved in.

And in Belfast, a shopping centre was forced to close after flooding caused by water coming in through the roof.

A Tesco supermarket and Vue cinema in Inverness also closed after their roofs collapsed following an intense downpour at Inshes Retail Park.

People watch a street performance in the rain at the Fringe festival in Edinburgh.IMAGE SOURCE,ALAMY
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Rain did not dampen the spirits of spectators at the Fringe festival in Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, a lightning strike has blown a hole in the roof of a home in the Isle of Man, where emergency services confirmed four homes were hit during a thunderstorm overnight.

Professor Hannah Cloke, an expert in hydrology at the University of Reading, speaking about the risk of flooding in drought-hit areas, said: “The ground is really dry and when it is so dry it acts a little bit like concrete and that water can’t get in so it drains straight off.

“There is the damage to homes and businesses these floods can cause, and inconvenience with transport disruptions, but if it is very heavy in one place it can also be very dangerous.”

Graphic showing water run-off on drought-affected soils
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