BBC Weather forecasts ‘heavy and thundery showers’ across UK
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The Met Office is warning of “heavy rain, thunderstorms and very gust winds” on Wednesday across much of the southern half of Britain. Flooding, dangerous travel conditions, lightning strikes, power cuts and felled trees are all a possibility as the storm system smashes the UK.
The warning covers Wales, the Midlands, eastern England, London and the southeast, and nirthwest England.
The yellow warning will take effect from 4am on Wednesday, October 20, and run through to midday.
The Met Office is advising residents under the warning zone to take care when travelling and outdoors as the storm will “move quickly”.
Wind gusts are expected to peak at 40 to 50 mph (60 to 80 kmph).
The Met Office said: “An area of heavy rain and thunderstorms will move quickly eastwards across Wales and southwestern England into parts of central, southern and eastern England during Wednesday morning.
“Many areas will see a spell of rain whilst some places will be affected by thunderstorms bringing a brief period of heavy rain, lightning, and strong, gusty winds with hail also affecting some spots.”
The Met Office said the strong winds could “potentially damage some structures”.
In addition to the strong wind, there is a “small chance that homes and businesses could flood, the Met Office said.
If this does occur, it could do so quickly due to the fast-moving nature of this storm.
The warning stated: “There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds.”
In addition to this, “spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures”, the Met Office said.
And there is a “slight chance” of powet cuts and damage to trees from the winds.
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How can you stay safe in a lightning storm?
Thunderstorms present significant danger, not least due to the risk of lightning strikes.
A lightning bolt carries around 20,000 – 30,000 amps of electrical current when it makes contact with the ground – That’s 2,300 times more electricity than that used to power your washing machine.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, between 30 and 60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain and about three of these are fatal.
While your odds of being struck by lightning are low, it’s wise to make sure you know how to protect yourself when a storm strikes.
Here is the Met Office guidance for staying safe during a storm:
- Avoid using a cabled phone – telephone lines can conduct electricity.
- Avoid using taps and sinks – metal pipes can conduct electricity. That means no showers or handwashing!
- Get inside as quickly as possible if you’re outdoors.
- If you’re outside and can’t get indoors, avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects.
- Be aware of metal objects that can conduct or attract lightning. This includes golf clubs, golf buggies, fishing rods, umbrellas, motorbikes, bicycles, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs, wire fencing, tent rods and rails.
- If you find yourself in an exposed location, squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and with head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, do not lie down on the ground
- If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately. This means static energy is filling the air and lighting is about to strike. Remember, even if you’re not hit directly, you can still be in danger as lightning leads to a huge amount of electricity in the surrounding area.
- If you’re driving during a storm, you should wind up the windows and stay inside your car.
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