Thunderstorms warning issued ahead of bank holiday weekend

PA

Thunderstorms are forecast to hit parts of the UK ahead of the bank holiday weekend as the wet and windy end to August continues.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings that conditions over Thursday and Friday could bring localised flooding and travel disruption.

A yellow warning for heavy rain on Thursday, covering most of southern England and parts of south Wales, is due to last until 7pm.

Meteorologist Alex Burkill said that "persistent rain" had already hit affected areas, with 44mm falling on St Columb in Cornwall in the six hours up to 2pm on Thursday.

He added: "There will be some localised flooding perhaps, but also really quite treacherous driving conditions."

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A video shared on Twitter on Thursday showed a cyclist riding up a flooded Beaumont Road in Plymouth, Devon.

On Friday, another yellow weather warning for heavy showers and thunderstorms has been put in place for 11am to 8pm , covering a slightly larger area of south Wales and southern England.

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Mr Burkill said: "Tomorrow we have the risk of some really heavy torrential downpours, with some large hail and lightning and thunder mixed in too.

"But it's during the intense downpours that we're quite likely to see some surface water flooding in a few places and again really quite difficult driving conditions.

"Obviously, it's the Friday before the bank holiday weekend, so lot's of people will be planning to take to the roads and so they do need to be aware that even if they're enjoying sunny spells at one moment a hefty shower could come along very quickly and make conditions very, very difficult."

He said many areas could see wind gusts of 30 to 40mph, particularly on the eastern and northeastern coast of England – although these are not covered by a warning as they will not have the heavy intense downpours expected further south.

Mr Burkill said the weather outlook was "an improving picture" for the bank holiday weekend itself.

He summarised: "Maybe a bit wet and windy for some to start Saturday but turning dryer through the day and then mostly fine, but cool, on Sunday into Monday."

Temperatures are expected to be a little below average for the time of year, reaching the low-20Cs "at best".

Mr Burkill highlighted that last year's August bank holiday Monday was the hottest on record, with temperatures reaching 33C.

"We're definitely not going to beat it this year," he said, adding: "I would bet my house on it."

Commenting on this weekend, Mr Burkill said: "It is going to be quite cool, so some people may feel a little hard done by for the last weekend of summer."

This week's weather warnings come off the back of a wet and windy August, with Storms Ellen and Francis battering the country within the space of a week.

Since 2015, when it started naming storms, the Met Office had previously never named one in August.

Storm Francis brought gusts of more than 80mph with conditions causing homes to be flooded, trees toppled, rail lines blocked and campers and elderly residents rescued from floodwater.