Thunderstorms and flash flooding to last until Monday bringing end to heatwave

Thunderstorm warnings are in place for most of England and all of Wales after heavy rain and flash flooding brought chaos to roads and railways on Thursday night.

The stormy weather is expected to continue until Monday, with lightning and hail threatening to cause damage to buildings and power outages.

Southern England is expected to be the worst hit, bringing a sharp end to the heatwave which saw temperatures reach 34C for a record breaking six days in a row.

Temperatures will remain high but will clash with ‘frequent lightning, gusty winds and intense, heavy downpours’, according to Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders.

More than 40mm of rain is possible is less than an hour, while some unlucky spots could see even more than that falling in a short space of time.

Mr Saunders said: ‘With the continuing hot weather, large swathes of the UK continue to be at risk from thunderstorms, and potentially the impacts from heavy rain, into the early part of next week.’

After another day of hot weather, storms struck in various parts of the country last night, with areas around Maidenhead, Berkshire, particularly hard hit. Further south, the M23 was one of many roads that became impassible and was temporarily closed in both directions between junctions eight and seven.

‘Biblical’ rain which lashed southern England on Thursday afternoon forced parts of the M25 in Surrey to be closed, while 19 people were evacuated from a train which became stuck following a landslide in Kent.

A tweet by Network Rail Kent and Sussex said teams would be working overnight to clear mud which was washed onto the railway by torrential rain in the area.

BBC Weather said about 12,000 lightning strikes were detected across parts of southern Britain in the hours leading up to 6pm. A wooden pavilion caught fire after a suspected lightning strike in a village in Hampshire, with eyewitness Donna Stokes saying there was a ‘horrendously loud bang of thunder’.

As well as the Met Office issuing Yellow alerts, The Environment Agency has a warning for expected flooding at Winford Brook at Chew Magna, south of Bristol, along with six alerts for possible flooding around Birmingham.

Neil Davies, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said: ‘Isolated thunderstorms could bring sudden surface water and river flooding, which may lead to flooded properties and severe travel disruption in some areas. Further surface water and river flooding is also a possibility until Sunday.’

Avon and Somerset Police were warning of delays on the A38, which was closed in both directions in Winscombe north of the A371 junction overnight after a burst water main caused a sink hole, in which a coach became stuck.

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