Britain’s mini heatwave has come crashing to a close as thunderstorms and torrential downpours swept in on the tail end of an Atlantic storm.
Britain is being hit by the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which pounded north-eastern US and Canada with 70mph winds at the weekend. Forecasters have warned of gale-force winds of 45mph or more from today until Thursday.
Yellow weather warnings are in place tomorrow and Wednesday, after more than a month’s rain fell in 24 hours yesterday – bringing the country’s record-breaking heatwave to a halt. The Met Office has predicted ‘a band of cloud and heavy rain’ which will move in from the west this evening.
After temperatures hit 28C (82F) in central London on Saturday, forecasters say we have now seen the ‘last breath’ of summer and are facing a fortnight of topsy-turvy weather.
Today a massive clean up operation is underway after monsoon-like conditions saw two inches of rain fall in just a few hours across the South West yesterday, causing flash flooding. Exeter Airport was forced to close with all flights cancelled, while motorists were trapped in their cars in nearby Dawlish.
Other areas of Devon suffered power cuts amid lightning strikes, while landslips closed roads including the M5 for a short time. Warnings were last night in place for potential flooding of homes in Dawlish, Sampford Mill and Kingsbridge.
Shocking footage shows a house in Corfe Fullen, Dorset, being struck by lightning in the early hours of this morning before the property becomes engulfed in flames. There was ‘a loud explosion’ and a flash of white light as the £400,000 home suffered a direct hit to the tiled roof.
Shocking footage shows a house (pictured) in Corfe Fullen, Dorset, being struck by lightning in the early hours of this morning before the property becomes engulfed in flames
There was ‘a loud explosion’ and a flash of white light as the £400,000 home suffered a direct hit to the tiled roof
The Devon town of Dawlish (pictured) was hit with extreme floods yesterday following heavy rain
Motorists in Dawlish, Devon, were left trapped in their cars due to the floods
One Totnes family had their home hit by lightning and it fried the electrics and collapsed the ceiling
The property was targeted at around 1.44am this morning as the first wave of thunderstorms swept through the region
Britain is being hit by the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which pounded north-eastern US and Canada with 70mph winds at the weekend. Forecasters have warned of gale-force winds of 45mph or more, particularly for western coasts, from today until Thursday
A woman in Dawlish walks through the mud holding a suitcase after the floods
Kenton Hair Salon (pictured) is flooded leaving water and dirt covering the floor
Kenton Hair Salon is pictured today after being flooded due to the bad weather
Megan Farrent, 28, (pictured) stands in Kenton Hair Salon after it was flooded during the period of bad weather
Thirty firefighters rushed to the residential area in Corfe Mullen, near Poole, Dorset, at 12.10am today to tackle the blaze which spread to an adjoining home.
The lone female occupants of the two properties, one a young woman and the other middle aged, were awoken by the strike during last night’s thunderstorms.
Six crews battled for two-and-a-half hours to put out the inferno. They remained at the scene for another three hours as a precaution.
Neighbour Warren Windebank, 47, a graphic designer, said: ‘I saw the roof was on fire and did not know if anyone was inside.
‘The door was open so I looked inside but tiles started to fall off the roof and it looked like it was about to collapse so I got out of there.’
Another neighbour said: ‘I was in my lounge and heard a massive explosion sound, which caused me to panic.
‘I rushed outside but there was no sign of a fire, so I went back in my flat. But five minutes later I saw black smoke so I looked out of the window and saw the house on fire.
‘I went outside and saw the front door to the home was open so I shouted ‘is anyone in there’, and a woman said she had come out.’
Up to three inches of rain could fall in the wettest places, most likely to be over the hills and moors of Snowdonia, Cumbria and the Pennines. The average rainfall for the whole of September is 4.4 inches.
Londoners who were kept awake by the storm took to social media this morning to report more ‘flood rain’ after thunder and flashes of lightning raged over parts of the country last night.
Firefighters scrambled to the scene of another house in Totnes, Devon, this morning which was struck by lightning as a ceiling collapsed and electrics were wrecked.
The property was targeted at around 1.44am as the first wave of thunderstorms swept through the region.
The Met Office warns the country will be hit by more rain throughout today
Met Office graphics paint a bleak picture across the UK this week
Temperatures will be significantly cooler this week – in stark contrast to last week’s heatwave
Dawlish has been left muddy after he town fell underwater due to severe floods
Severe floods have hit Dawlish with parts of the town going underwater following heavy rainfall
Sandbags are seen outside shops after the floods in Dawlish, Devon
Buckfastleigh fire station has been heavily impacted by the floods
Britain is being hit by the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which pounded north-eastern US and Canada with 70mph winds at the weekend. Pictured: Buckfastleigh Fire Station
Buildings are evacuated and furniture is removed in Kenton, Devon after properties were flooded
Kenton, Devon (pictured) has been hit by floods which have caused devastation across the village
Two people brave the rain in Bolton today, using a coat as an umbrella to protect themselves
A woman’s umbrella breaks in Manchester today as heavy rain continues across parts of the country
A lightning bolt strikes the sea near Bournemouth Pier in Dorset as a thunderstorm passed over in the early hours of this morning
A lightning bolt hits the sea at Portland Bill in Dorset early this morning
Fire crews attending the incident said the occupant of the house was unhurt and had sought refuge with neighbours.
A spokesman for the Buckfastleigh Fire Station said: ‘This morning at 1.44am we were called along with Ashburton Fire Station to reports of a house struck by lightning in Totnes.
‘The crews used two breathing apparatus to check the upstairs of the property due to a strong smell of burning. It was evident a large surge had gone through the house and plug sockets had blown off of the wall, light switches where effected and a lamp was shattered.’
The firefighters said they were about to leave the Totnes property after making sure there was no further risk of fire, when they were called out to another home nearby which had been flooded overnight.
The spokesman said: ‘We had difficulty in reaching the property due to localised flooding so two firefighters donned water safety PPE and waded to the house to support the occupant. We utilised small tools, buckets and shovels to remove the majority of the water.
‘We then installed the occupants flood defence barrier to prevent further flooding from the rain that is forecast today.’
Meanwhile ambulances were trapped in their station in West Sussex when power to the electric doors failed as flying debris trashed vehicles and homes.
Becki Martin said she had never seen anything like it as cars and homes were damaged along her street.
The 32-year-old administrator from Littlehampton said cars and even vans were moved by the wind.
‘We were all watching the storm out of the lounge window when suddenly the wind picked up incredibly fast.’
Brits are facing rush-hour travel chaos after thunderstorms and torrential downpours flooded roads overnight. Pictured: Flooded roads in South East London
A lightning strike sweeps across the sky this morning in Petersfield, Hampshire
The floods have prompted the closure of Park Community Academy school on Whitegate Drive in Blackpool
The met office issues yellow weather warning as Thunderstorms and torrential downpours hit Southampton
People took to Twitter to complain and joke about the British weather today
A lightning over buildings during a thunderstorm in Greenwich South East London
Footage posted on Twitter last night showed thunder and lightning over Bournemouth, Dorset
A neighbour in Cherry Croft was cut on the leg by flying glass, Becki said.
Heavy rain and a spectacular display of lightning were reported across the Sussex coast.
Ambulances in Worthing were trapped when a power cut stopped the electric doors from opening.
A spokesman said: ‘Power is now back on but yes Worthing Ambulance Station was affected by the local outage.’
Meanwhile walls of water six feet high flooded some villages like Kenton near Exeter as the torrential rain came off hills and swamped the centre.
Homes, restaurants, pubs and cinemas were among properties affected by floodwater.
Betty Baldiwin, a 95 year old lady, said she thought she was going to drown early on Sunday morning as her house was devastated by the floods.
Around 50 villagers in Harberton, Devon, went to her aid as the ground floor of her house was more than two feet under water.
Neighbour Jonathan Bean raced out to help her at 3am after spotting torchlight in her bedroom after her power was cut as she screamed: ‘I can’t get out. I’m just so frightened.’
Mr Bean climbed in through a window to get to Betty and comfort her in her distressed state.
Betty, who will be 96 in two weeks, is now staying with friends in the village.
Kenton school was forced to shut as it was also affected by the floodwater, with pupils being taught online at home.
The floods also prompted the closure of Park Community Academy school in Blackpool this morning.
Reporting the closure on Twitter, the school wrote: ‘Unfortunately PCA has flooded this morning. We are awaiting the arrival of the electricians to ensure the buildings are safe. Please do not send your child into school until further notice.’
‘Unsettled’ and ‘autumnal’ weather is predicted later this week with more heavy periods of rain on the way.
One person wrote on Twitter this morning: ‘Could have sworn the weather forecast for this morning was ”a clear start to the day”. Nope flood rain! #weather.’
Another wrote: ‘Wish I was born in the Maldives… hate UK weather!’
The Met Office last night warned of a ‘danger to life’ from fast-flowing floodwater shortly after temperatures hit a stunning 28C (82F) in London on Saturday.
Yesterday’s conditions saw more than four inches of rain fall in just a few hours across Devon and Somerset, causing flash flooding.
The average September rainfall for Devon is 87 mm (3.4ins), and for Somerset is 71 mm (2.8ins).
The Met Office’s Jonathan Vautrey said: ‘Some places could have potentially 70 per cent of the average September rain over the course of a few days as the weather system marches through.
‘The 28C we saw in London on Saturday is the last breath of summer. Generally, from here on temperatures are likely to be closer to the average for the time of year.
In the early hours of yesterday, lightning struck a house in Totnes, which caused an upstairs ceiling to collapse
Pictured is a road in Dawlish, Devon, that was flooded following torrential rain
‘The thunder is occurring along a cold front which is then due to open the door to Atlantic weather brought along by the jet stream.’
However, forecasters said the storm clouds could have a silver lining – with hopes there will be another Indian summer at the start of October.
The Met Office said: ‘There is an increased chance of more settled conditions developing.
‘Overall, temperatures are more likely to be above average than below, with an increased chance of some warm spells, but also some cooler nights.’
Roads resembled rivers, yesterday as part of Dawlish town centre was underwater and Exeter Airport had to be closed after areas of the terminal building were inundated by flooding.
Warnings were last night in place for potential flooding of homes in Dawlish, Sampford Mill and Kingsbridge, all in Devon.
Yesterday afternoon, residents in Paignton battled to stop the rising water entering their homes and power cuts affected several hundred homes across south Devon.
In the early hours of yesterday, lightning struck a house in Totnes, which caused an upstairs ceiling to collapse.
Pictured is an area in Dawlish, Devon, hit by severe flooding
Crews arriving at the scene at 2am found the occupant had recieved only minor injuries – but the huge surge of electricity had blown plug sockets off the wall and shattered a lamp.
In all, flooding and landslips affected 11 roads across Devon including the M5 which had to be temporarily closed for a short time.
There was also flash flooding affecting roads in Somerset, including Taunton town centre.
By late afternoon, officially the wettest place was Harberton Farm, near Totnes, which recorded 84mm (3.3ins).
But the Met Office said some private rain gauges had recorded over 100mm (4ins) of rain and totals for yesterday were expected to end up at 70-90mm (2..8 – 3.6ins) in areas of Devon and Somerset.
The Met Office added there have been approximately 1500-2000 lightning strikes across the UK today, most of which have been in southern counties of England, and some of these where over the English Channel.
Jonathan Vautrey, a meteorologist with the Meteorological Office, said: ‘Some places could have potentially 70 per cent of the average September rain over the course of a few days as the weather system marches through.’ Mr Vautrey said the worst of the weather is likely to be in the west, with spells of wet and windy conditions.
He said: ‘The 28C we saw in London on Saturday is the last breath of summer.. Generally, from here on temperatures are likely to be closer to the average for the time of year.
Exeter Airport was forced to close after torrential rain flooded the terminal
‘The thunder is occurring along a cold front which is then due to open the door to Atlantic weather brought along by the jet stream.
‘Arriving midweek on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which by then will have settled into a more typical Atlantic weather system.
‘Under the cloud and rain it is likely to be feeling relatively cool.’ Temperatures in south east England could still reach 21C (70F) today MON and hover at 19-20C (66-68F) for the coming days but fall back to 16C (61F) by Friday.
Further north and west, highs of 17-18C (63-66F) are possible for the first half of the week before falling back to 15-16C (59-61F).
Mr Vautrey said gales are likely as ex-Hurricane Lee moves through – ‘predominantly on the western coasts but potentially eastern coasts could see gales developing into the afternoon’.
He added that away from high ground in the north and west, rainfall as ex-Hurricane Lee blows through is likely to be lower, at around 10-20mm (0.4-0.8ins).
On Friday, into next weekend and the following week, sunshine and showers are due to predominate, ‘with the possibility of heavy and localised thundery downpours’ and longer spells of rain in western and northern areas.
It is also due to be windy at times, ‘with the potential for a spell of very strong winds’ at times.
But forecasters remain hopeful there could be a further Indian summer spell at the beginning of October.
The Met Office said: ‘There is an increased chance of more settled conditions developing, but this doesn’t rule out spells of more changeable weather.
‘Overall, temperatures are more likely to be above average than below, with an increased chance of some warm spells, but also some cooler nights.’
Videos showed passengers standing in the flooded terminal in Devon yesterday with water up to their ankles as it was announced that all flights to and from Exeter Airport would be cancelled for the rest of the day.
Flash flooding also hit the nearby seaside town of Dawlish, trapping motorists in their cars on roads inundated with water. Residents were reportedly stranded as water gushed down a major road in the area.
The weather forecaster said 30-40mm of rain fall over just one hour – in a downpour that would see volumes of rain equivalent to over half the September average of 55-60mm. This meant more than 100mm of rain may have fallen by the end of Sunday in an area where the September average is 92.45mm.
The UK’s official forecaster warned of lightning, hail, and strong winds that would lash many parts of England and Wales last night.
An amber weather warning for thunderstorms across parts of Devon and Somerset is still in place while a yellow warning covers the rest of the south-west of England and South Wales until 6pm.
A similar warning was issued for London, the south-east and east of England and the East Midlands until 6am on Monday.
Heavy rain brought torrential downpours across the south-west of England this morning, with localised flooding in south Devon.
Areas affected by the amber warning are likely to be flooded and people should expect some disruption to travel.
In some parts of southern England, the Met Office predicted that 30-40mm of rain could fall – volumes equivalent to at least half the September average of 55-60mm.
There is a ‘slight chance’ of power cuts or that other services to homes and businesses could be lost, while some communities could also be cut off by floodwater. The Met Office said buildings could also be damaged by lightning, hail or strong winds.
People planning to travel face the prospect of delays or sudden cancellations to trains and buses.
Roads may be closed at short notice due to spray and sudden floods and ‘difficult driving conditions’ are expected on those that remain open.
Met Office meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said ‘there is a chance these thunderstorms turn severe’ and bring ‘gusty winds with quite significant torrential rain’.
They will move relatively quickly, making it difficult to pin down where exactly will be worst affected, Mr Vautrey said.
He added: ‘It is certainly worth keeping up to date with the forecast.
‘Although the warning area covers the whole south east of England, not everywhere in that region may see the most severe thunderstorms.
‘It is worth checking those things immediately before you head out on your journey so that you are aware where the most severe thunderstorms are possible.
‘Make sure you are taking care as the weather could change at very short lead times, and just be prepared for those gusty winds and potentially large hailstorms.’
Conditions are expected to remain ‘blustery at times’ early next week but are likely to be fresher.
More storms are possible as the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which hit New England in the US and eastern Canada, is set to move across the UK between Tuesday and Thursday.
It will no longer be a hurricane by the time it reaches UK shores.
Mr Vautrey said: ‘That will be getting picked up by the jet stream. Showers in places could be heavy with a risk of further thunderstorms.
‘It could be quite an unsettled, autumnal week to come.’
Tomorrow will see further wet and windy weather, with northern England seeing the heaviest rain.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the weather will remain wet but some areas in the south will see drier spells. Cloud will be heavy for most.