Thunderstorms threaten mass disruption as heavy rain meets ‘almost impenetrable’ ground
Heavy rain hammers Devon as thunderstorms roll over – Monday
People who live in “low-lying properties” should make sure their valuable items are prepared for evacuation, the Met Office has warned due to the current high flood risk.
Large parts of Britain are at risk of flash flooding today as thunderstorms overwhelm the country’s parched landscape with heavy rain.
The Met Office has a yellow weather warning in place over England and Wales, with the potential for power cuts, transport disruption and a danger to life from fast flowing or deep floodwater.
Dan Suri, forecaster for the Met Office, said: “With no meaningful rainfall in some southern locations since June, soils in these areas have become baked by the sun turning them into hard almost impenetrable surfaces.
“Any rainfall in these areas won’t be able to soak away and instead it will wash off soils and other hard surfaces, creating flash flooding in some areas.”
In parts of Scotland, commuters were held up by heavy rain this morning, with train speeds reduced on several parts of the rail network and surface water affecting many roads.
What is thunderstorm asthma? Warning over ‘rare phenomenon’ as UK hit by dramatic weather change
Thunderstorms are sweeping the UK this week, a dramatic end to the prolonged stretch of extremely hot and dry weather (Zoe Tidman writes).
The three-day Met Office weather warning highlights the risk of potential flash floods, power cuts and travel disruption across much of the country as the heavy rain hits.
But experts also warn there could be a rare health risk during the stormy weather, in the form of “thunderstorm asthma”.
This is where thunderstorm activity is linked to a rise in people reporting symptoms of asthma – such as in June last year – the UK Health and Security Agency explains.
The Met Office issued three day thunderstorm warning for most of the UK, raising concerns over impact for hayfever and asthma sufferers
Transport disruption as heavy rains fall on Scotland
Rail passengers and motorists are facing travel disruption following heavy rain in Scotland.
ScotRail warned passengers to expect delays on some routes as some speed restrictions are in place due to heavy rainfall over the last few days.
Meanwhile in Perth, Network Rail said it was dealing with flooding at the station.
Speed restrictions were put in place on the Perth to Dunkeld, Larbert to Stirling and Gleneagles to Perth area and on the Alloa branch line.
Trains were limited to 40mph, or 20mph if the usual speed limit is lower.
On the roads, Traffic Scotland warned that surface water was affecting many routes and urged motorists to take care.
Simple video experiment shows how droughts increase flash flooding risk
With nothing more than three cups of water, a UK scientist has clearly illustrated how drought conditions can heighten the risk of flash flooding once rain does start to fall (Harry Cockburn writes).
In the experiment, Dr Robert Thompson from the University of Reading’s Meteorology Department, filmed himself at different times of year turning a clear plastic cup full of water upside down onto the same bit of ground.
The footage clearly reveals how weather conditions affect the absorption rate of water.
Climate change makes flash flooding more likely, say campaigners
Environmental campaigners have highlighted the role of climate change in the storms brewing around Britain – the country’s latest extreme weather event which comes after a series of unprecedented heatwaves.
Paul de Zylva from Friends of the Earth said: “Heavy rain and flash flooding are likely to become more frequent as a result of climate change.
“We desperately need a period of sustained rainfall to help restore the UK’s dry and wildlife depleted rivers and reservoirs and protect our food supplies, but the ground is so parched that heavy rain will have difficulty soaking in and will instead wash away soils and cause flooding.
“The government, and next prime minister, must do more to protect people by adapting our homes and infrastructure to extreme weather and take the bold action needed to help avert the worst of climate breakdown.”
Scientists have repeatedly warned that climate change has influenced recent periods of extreme weather in Britain and around the world.
Drought conditions can lead to an increased risk of flooding when rain finally returns as dry ground does not absorb water as easily.
Sixteen flood alerts in place for England
Sixteen flood alerts are in place across England as heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected.
The alerts cover areas of south London, Surrey, Norfolk, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.
List in full:
- Beverley Brook area in Merton, Sutton, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth
- Bottle Brook in Derbyshire
- Loughborough urban watercourses and local tributaries to the River Soar
- Ravensbourne area in the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Bromley, Greenwich and Croydon
- River Erewash Tributaries in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
- River Hogsmill area from Ewell to Kingston upon Thames
- River Leen, Day Brook and Tottle Brook in Nottinghamshire
- River Maun in Nottinghamshire
- River Rythe from Oxshott to Thames Ditton
- River Trent Tributaries in Nottinghamshire
- River Wandle area in the London Boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton, Lambeth, Croydon and Sutton
- Shuttle and Cray
- The north Norfolk coast from East Cley to Kelling Hard, including Salthouse
- The north Norfolk coast from Old Hunstanton, to and including Cley
- Tributaries in North Derbyshire
- Tributaries in South Derbyshire
Body of teenage girl recovered from water in Stalybridge
Police have recovered the body of a teenage girl who is thought to have drowned in Greater Manchester on Monday.
Greater Manchester Police said the girl got into difficulty in water off Crowswood Drive, Stalybridge, after emergency responders were called on Monday at around 6.30pm.
The force has not named the girl but said formal identification has taken place, while officers are “confident” her death is not suspicious.
Officers said an investigation suggested she had drowned.
Incredible lightning photo captured by snapper testing phone camera
An amateur photographer captured an extraordinary shot of lightning over north Wales on his smartphone.
Thomas Davies stepped into his back garden in Rhyl just before midnight on Sunday to test out the camera on his phone.
Thomas explains: “I caught this in the back garden of my house at 23.55 on Sunday. I went for a nosey out side hearing the rain pouring down then to see a lightning strike in the distance. So I got my mobile and my tripod to took it outside under a bit of shelter away from the rain.
“I wanted to practice some long exposure shots and see if the Samsung s22 ultra can capture any lightning. Within a few minutes setting it all up to the right camera settings I caught this lightning strike. I was happy to see it until I looked on my phone to see the image and I was amazed to capture it.”
All of England and Wales are under a thunderstorm yellow warning until midnight tonight.
Videos show scale of flash flooding as rain finally hits parched UK
Videos have emerged showing the scale of the flash flooding that hit several parts of the UK on Monday, the result of heavy downpours after many weeks of exceptionally dry conditions (Maroosha Muzaffar writes).
Experts say the record-breaking heatwaves over the last few weeks have left the ground extremely hard and dry and hence more susceptible to flooding.
Local reports said that heavy rainfall and flash flooding hit some parts of Devon and Cornwall as thunderstorms swept across the southwest and East of England.
One of the videos shared on social media shows a roundabout near a river in Truro, Cornwall quickly flooding as showers swept in.
UK still ‘not proactive’ about flooding ‘despite regular pattern’
The UK is still “reactive and not proactive” about flood risk even though flooding has become a “regular pattern” for the country, the National Flood Forum charity has warned.
Speaking to Nick Ferarri on LBC, Heather Shepherd said: “Flooding has definitely increased and certainly the length of time that I’ve been working in flood risk, and we see it now as a regular pattern, don’t we, every year.”
However, she added: “I still think we are quite reactive and not proactive. As soon as it’s not in the headlines, flooding, we tend to be a bit too laid back.”
Ms Shepherd expressed concern about the government’s “cost criteria” regarding the accessibility of funding for flooded communities, saying: “There are people, particularly in rural and deprived areas, that repeatedly are flooded and can’t access any funding to do anything about that.”
She also warned that “building like mad everywhere” was increasing flood risk, as “a lot of that is on places where water had space and it no longer has. It overwhelms our drainage infrastructure. And we’re seeing more and more urban flooding”.
Beware thunderstorm asthma
Thunderstorms can carry an increased risk of asthma attacks.
The phenomenon known as thunderstorm asthma was first formally recorded in 1983 and health officials say it is not fully understood.
Health authorities say everyone may be at risk but young adults can be particularly affected. Those diagnosed with asthma or hayfever are at greater risk.
The UKHSA last noted an uptick in people reporting ashtma symptoms during a thunderstorm last June.
Allergy expert Dr Sophie Farooque goes into detail about the condition in a Twitter thread: