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Millions of people across the southeast of England are braced for yet more rain, with dozens of flood alerts issued across parts of the country.
The “warning zone” covers a broad sweep of the southeast and East Anglia, covering Hull, Norwich, London, Southampton and Birmingham. Strong winds are also expected as the storm develops on Friday, while areas of the southeast including Kent can expect torrential downpour.
The Environment Agency has issued 29 flood alerts, with most in south and east England and a handful in the Midlands.
Flood alerts – rather than flood warnings – mean that flooding is possible and that people living in or travelling through these areas should be prepared.
The Met Office warned people to expect poor visibility and wet roads, as well as torrential rain and lightning.
Why do thunderstorms happen after hot weather?
The hot weather and humidity during a heatwave creates ideal conditions for thunderstorms.
According to the Met Office, thunderstorms develop when the atmosphere is unstable and there is moisture.
This is when warm air exists underneath much colder air.
They often develop in the afternoon after the progressive heating during the early part of the day.
Here’s Chiara Giordano with a look at why thunderstorms often follow heatwaves:
Forecasters are warning ‘intense’ thunderstorms are set to hit UK
Music fans brave rain at government pilot event Download Festival
In an altogether authentic British festival experience, music fans are getting drenched as Download Festival kicks off as part of a government events pilot.
The capacity for the heavy metal event has been significantly reduced from 111,000 to around 10,000, but attendees will not have to wear masks or social distance.
Fans were seen arriving on site at Donington Park in Leicestershire and setting up tents wearing rain coats and waterproof ponchos.
The Met Office is warning of spells of heavy rain and possible thunder across the county until Saturday, with similar weather across the weekend.
Environment Agency issues three further flood alerts
The Environment Agency has issued three further flood alerts in England.
There are now 29 live alerts.
People in the following areas are advised to be prepared for flooding:
Racegoers wear ponchos to shield themselves from the rain as they arrive on day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse.
Heavy rain expected to have cleared by 8pm England-Scotland kickoff
Football fans watching the match in Wembley or Trafalgar Square may be in luck, with the heaviest downpours likely to clear in time for the England-Scotland game this evening.
Met Office spokesperson Grahame Madge said the worst of the rain should be over by kickoff time on Friday night.
“Most of the heavy rain in the south and east will have largely moved away by 8pm,” he said.
“We are expecting the heaviest bursts to be continuing until about 6pm, but there is still a risk of rain afterwards.”
Thunderstorm warning changed to a rain warning
Friday’s thunderstorm warning has been changed to a rain warning, with the end time brought forward.
Environment Agency issues seven further flood alerts
The Environment Agency has issued a further seven flood alerts, taking the total to 26.
Five are in the Midlands, with the remainder in the south and east of England.
Here are the latest alerts to be added to the list:
Do not drive through flood water, Environment Agency warns
The Environment Agency has urged drivers not to plough through flood water, warning that just 1ft (30cm) of flowing water is enough to float a vehicle.
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has also alerted drivers to “lots of standing water” on the roads, while the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVLA) has issued advice on driving safely through summer showers.
The DVLA’s tips include allowing at least double the usual separation distance between your vehicle and the one in front, keeping speed down and using dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you.
Environment Agency advice for flood alerts
The Environment Agency has shared the following advice for people living in areas where flood alerts have been issued.
The emphasis is on preparation: people living in these areas should pack a bag with medicines and insurance documents in case they need to leave the area. They should also continue to check flood warnings, in the event that the situation worsens.
There are currently 19 flood alerts in place across the southeast of England.
If a flood warning is issued, action should be taken: gas, water and electricity should be turned off, and people should move themselves, family, pets and car to safety. Items also should be taken to safety or upstairs. There are no flood warnings in place at present.
The latest Met Office forecast