Thunderstorms forecast to hit parts of England and Wales after mild weekend

After mild weather that gave people the UK’s warmest New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on record, forecast heavy thunderstorms will leave them dashing for their umbrellas, following a warning from the Met Office for heavy storms in parts of southern England and Wales.

Forecasters said the the fast-moving thunderstorms could result in sudden flooding, lightning strikes and possible “localised disruption”.

Road closures, power cuts and damage to trees and buildings are possible.

A Met Office yellow weather warning for thunderstorms is in place until Sunday at 6pm.

It states: “A band of heavy showers and thunderstorms will move quickly eastwards today, giving a period of intense rain and perhaps 15-20mm of rain in a few places in an hour or less.

“These may be accompanied by lightning, hail and strong winds, with a low risk that some places could see gusts of 50mph.”

The weather warning covers the east of England, London and the south-east, south-west England and parts of Wales.

It follows the unusually mild weather over the New Year weekend that was due to warm subtropical air flowing from the Azores, which pushed temperatures to around 16C at a time of year when they usually reach no more than 7C.

The forecasters also said the warm weather would not last beyond the early part of next week.

Winter weather Jan 2nd 2022
Rowers from the Bristol Gig Club make their way along the River Avon at Conham River Park, Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

Warnings for wind and snow are in also in place for northern Scotland on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Showers and strong winds may cause difficult driving conditions on higher routes. Bus, ferry and train services could be affected, with trips taking longer or even being cancelled.

The Met Office warning states: “Frequent snow showers and gusts to severe gale force are expected on Tuesday, leading to travel disruption, particularly for higher routes.”

Angus, Grampian, Highlands and Eilean Siar, plus Orkney and Shetland are among the areas that could be affected.

Areas above 200 metres could be among the worst affected, with the snowfall possibly reaching 10-15cm in places.

The weather warning adds: “In combination with winds gusting 50 to 60mph, perhaps 70mph on exposed summits, temporary blizzard conditions and some drifting of snow on higher-level routes is likely. Gusts of around 70mph on exposed coasts will generate some large waves and dangerous coastal conditions in a few places.”