Hailstones the size of golf balls hit village as 'apocalyptic' storms sweep in after heatwave

Hail that hit Kevin Messenger's car.  Hail the size of golf balls fell in a thunderstorm damaging cars and smashing windows as extreme heat warnings stayed in place across England.  The hail storm hit Leicestershire around 18.15 BST, July 20, 2021, with some car windows obliterated.  See SWNS story SWMDhail.  July 21, 2021.
Hailstones the size of golf balls smashed a car windscreen in a village in Leicestershire. (SWNS)

Hailstones the size of golf balls have fallen on a Leicestershire village, smashing car windows and damaging buildings, after thunderstorms hit the UK during its heatwave.

The village of Kibworth Beauchamp was subjected to a deluge of hail on the UK’s hottest day of the year so far.

The hailstones measured 5cm long and contributed to flooding throughout the village.

Care homes and sheltered housing were evacuated when hail smashed glass and corridors were flooded as a month’s worth of rain fell in just 30 minutes.

Father-of-two Kevin Messenger, 39, had the windscreen of his Volkswagen Polo smashed by hail while resident Katie Jaffar's new Porsche was left covered in dents.

There was flooding in Kibworth village after the downpour.  Hail the size of golf balls fell in a thunderstorm damaging cars and smashing windows as extreme heat warnings stayed in place across England.  The hail storm hit Leicestershire around 18.15 BST, July 20, 2021, with some car windows obliterated.  See SWNS story SWMDhail.  July 21, 2021.
There was flooding in Kibworth Beauchamp village in Leicestershire after a downpour on Tuesday. (SWNS)

Messenger, an IT manager, said: "The hail was that severe it smashed the back windscreen of my car, I know other people in the village who had their car windows smashed too.

"But we got off lightly because some houses flooded and the local primary school roof collapsed.

"It all happened so quickly, it only lasted about 45 minutes but the damage was far reaching. It was crazy really.

"The damage must be running into the hundreds if not thousands of pounds. But just a few hundred metres down the road it stayed gloriously sunny.

"You don't expect it in this country but after the heat we have been having, the storms are bound to come.

"I was gutted about the car but I do feel fortunate and a bit grateful definitely as there have been worse-impacted people than me."

Mother-of-two Mrs Jaffar, 46, said both of her family's cars were a "total write-off" following the torrential downpour.

She said: "One minute the kids were playing with their friends in the paddling pool and it was gloriously hot.

"The next minute huge dollops of rain started falling and then it turned into hail - huge lumps of it thundering down.

"It was so fast, it was pretty terrifying. It sounded like gun shots.

"We went from sunshine to having a stream running outside our front door in around 15 minutes.

Kevin Messenger's car that had it's window smashed in a hail storm.  Hail the size of golf balls fell in a thunderstorm damaging cars and smashing windows as extreme heat warnings stayed in place across England.  The hail storm hit Leicestershire around 18.15 BST, July 20, 2021, with some car windows obliterated.  See SWNS story SWMDhail.  July 21, 2021.
Kevin Messenger's car that had its back windscreen smashed in a hail storm in Leicestershire. (SWNS)
Hail that hit Kevin Messenger's car.  Hail the size of golf balls fell in a thunderstorm damaging cars and smashing windows as extreme heat warnings stayed in place across England.  The hail storm hit Leicestershire around 18.15 BST, July 20, 2021, with some car windows obliterated.  See SWNS story SWMDhail.  July 21, 2021.
One of the hailstones that hit Kevin Messenger's car in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire. (SWNS)

"That was the most frightening thing, how quickly it all happened.”

She said the force of the hail also smashed through a large skylight at her mother's home nearby and water flooded the corridor.

Mrs Jaffar said: "She had to be evacuated from the top floor of her sheltered accommodation and I know a care home had to be evacuated as well.

"Our neighbours' cellars are flooded and there was water up to the front door. It was just so scary how quickly it happened and the damage it caused."

Emily Bevan, 29, said: "It was like something from a disaster movie, it was apocalyptic. I have never seen weather like this in Britain.

"The noise of it was just deafening as well. It was bonkers."

Paul Arscott, a market researcher, said: "The roads were nuts. Everyone pulled up on grass verges and pavements trying to hide under trees or bridges.

"It was like some Armageddon film."

There were also reports of hailstones in parts of Essex.

Heavy rain in Billericay, Essex during a brief but heavy storm. A yellow warning for storms has been issued by the Met Office for parts of the East Midlands, South East and East of England from 1pm on Tuesday until the end of the day. Picture date: Tuesday July 20, 2021.
Hailstones rain down in Billericay, Essex, on Tuesday. (PA)
Heavy rain in Billericay, Essex during a brief but heavy storm. A yellow warning for storms has been issued by the Met Office for parts of the East Midlands, South East and East of England from 1pm on Tuesday until the end of the day. Picture date: Tuesday July 20, 2021.
Heavy rain in Billericay, Essex during a brief but heavy storm on Tuesday. (PA)

The Met Office had issued amber thunderstorm warnings for parts of south-eastern and central England between 4pm and 7pm on Tuesday.

As much as 60mm of rain had fallen in just a few hours in areas affected by the amber thunderstorm warning.

The UK recorded its hottest day of the year so far, after the temperature reached 32.2C at Heathrow Airport in west London on Tuesday afternoon.

The previous high for the year was 31.6C, which was also recorded at Heathrow on Sunday.

An amber extreme heat warning is also set to last until Friday, with the mercury expected to climb as high as 33C (91.4F) in parts of the country.

The Met Office said the recent spell of hot weather has drawn in moist air to eastern parts of the country, which is causing the downpours.

The body of a 15-year-old boy was found in a canal at Stocking Lane in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, on Tuesday.

West Yorkshire Police issued warnings about swimming in open water in hot weather and appealed for anyone with information about how the boy ended up in the canal to get in touch.

Meanwhile, Merseyside Police said that a man had died and two others were taken to hospital following an incident at Crosby Beach.

Watch: Met Office issues first ever extreme heat warning in UK