Flash flooding hit Britain again tonight as firefighters were called out to help businesses, with hospitals and drivers inundated by water as torrential rain continued and the Met Office warned thunderstorms in England and Scotland will continue through to Thursday.
Pictures showed desperate scenes in Yeovil, Somerset, with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue officers helping vehicles submerged beneath a flooded section of the A30 outside a Halfords autocentre.
A yellow thunderstorm warning was in place for parts of Kent and Sussex between 10am and 5pm today while another yellow storm warning has been issued across much of Wales, northern and central England between 9am on Tuesday and 6am on Wednesday.
The heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop on Tuesday and will last well into the night across north Wales and north-west England in particular.
Meanwhile, a yellow thunderstorm warning is in place for most of Scotland for 12 hours from noon on Tuesday, while yellow rain warnings also follow for all of Wednesday and the early hours of Thursday morning.
Homes, roads and Tube stations across the capital were deluged, while Whipps Cross Hospital was forced to cancel all surgery and outpatient appointments on Monday after the basement was flooded, causing damage to the electrical system and a loss of power.
A major incident was called across Barts Health NHS Trust, with staff moving 100 inpatients from affected wards, including to other hospitals within the group, while ambulances were diverted to other A&E departments to relieve the pressure on Whipps Cross.
The wettest part of the country on Sunday was St James’s Park in London, where 41.8mm of rain fell.
The average rainfall for July in London is 45mm, meaning almost a month’s worth of rain fell in one 24-hour period. The daily rainfall value of 41.8mm recorded at St James’s park is that weather station’s second-wettest July day on record.
Flash flooding at Yeovil in Somerset after torrential rain and thunderstorms struck during the late afternoon
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue officers on a flooded section of the A30 in Yeovil outside a Halfords autocentre
Flooding forced Whipps Cross Hospital to cancel surgeries and appointments after some departments lost power during the thunderstorms yesterday afternoon. Pictured: A fire engine is seen outside the main entrance to Whipps Cross Hospital today
Barts Health NHS Trust said patients are being transferred from the affected departments to other hospitals within the trust
Near Whipps Cross Hospital, one family’s home, where they have lived for 34 years, was flooded during their first get-together in 18 months and family member Nicola Thorogood has described the experience as ‘heartbreaking’ for her parents
Floodwater begins to subside in Battersea, London, today leaving mud covered roads and a car which was abandoned
‘Heartbreaking’: Family home of 34 years is hit by floods amid torrential rain as they enjoyed their post-coronavirus reunion
A family’s home has been flooded after heavy rain in London
A woman whose childhood home was flooded during the family’s first get-together in 18 months has described the experience as ‘heartbreaking’ for her parents.
Nicola Thorogood, 33, was at her parents’ house in Walthamstow, east London, along with her two sisters, their partners and all their children when torrential rain hit the area on Sunday.
The family made a frantic attempt to keep the water out of the home they moved into in 1987, but in the end they gave up and put their efforts into trying to save as many belongings as possible.
‘It’s heartbreaking for my parents,’ Ms Thorogood said.
‘It’s just knowing what they’ve put into it – they’re in their mid-60s now, but they’re still working – and they’ve worked so hard all their life to have that house and it’s the thing they’re most proud of and want to pass on to us eventually. It’s that that breaks my heart.’
The house is about a 10-minute walk from Whipps Cross Hospital, which declared a major incident on Sunday.
Ms Thorogood’s family were all together on Sunday for the first time since January 2020 after so-called Freedom Day.
Her older sister left with her children shortly after 3pm as the weather started to worsen, and soon after the rest of the family were using buckets to try to sweep water away from the front step, and build makeshift flood defences using bin bags and soil.
When it became clear they could not stop the water, they instead tried to save as many belongings as they could.
Ms Thorogood said: ‘We took what we could upstairs, obviously anything like sentimental photos and things like that. Then we retreated upstairs to my parents’ room and just watched the rain fall and the flood come in.’
‘My mum was close to tears,’ Ms Thorogood said. ‘She kept saying, ‘nobody’s hurt’ and ‘there’s worse things could happen’ but you could see the pain on her face.
‘My mum’s very house proud – she’s always cleaning and she’s always decorating and she keeps it to a nice standard.’
By Monday morning the water had receded and her parents were beginning to clean up.
‘They stayed because mum just didn’t want to leave,’ Ms Thorogood, who lives in Chingford, said.
‘I spoke to her this morning and she said the water’s gone, but it’s like a warzone, and they don’t know where to start.
‘I’m hoping she’ll come and stay here for a few days… they can’t stay there, at the moment they have no power, they don’t know if it’s safe to put it back on.
‘So it’s just a bit of a waiting game.’
A spokeswoman for Barts Health NHS Trust said: ‘We are continuing to experience operational issues at Whipps Cross Hospital due to the heavy rainfall yesterday.
‘We cancelled all planned surgery and outpatient appointments for today, and are diverting ambulances while we work hard to clean up affected areas of the hospital.
‘We are keeping the situation under constant review and will post updates about services as necessary.
‘Meanwhile, we cleaned all areas affected by the flooding at Newham Hospital yesterday and its emergency department is now open to people needing emergency care.
‘We are working closely with other hospitals across the Barts Health group to maintain patient care and asking the public to check the latest visiting arrangements for each hospital on our website before coming to any site.’
The Met Office said thunderstorms occur when there is warm air on the surface that is underneath cooler air above it.
The warm air rises and creates instability which can create quite heavy downpours of rain and hail, as well as creating the conditions for thunder and lightning.
A Met Office spokesman said: ‘Going forward, there’s some more thunderstorms and intense downpours in the forecast, with a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms currently active until 5pm today in the far South East.
‘The current dominant weather pattern of the UK is set to be a spell of low pressure, bringing with it some more persistent rain from Tuesday and into Wednesday, with some slow moving heavy rain expected over Scotland on Wednesday in particular.’
The spokesman said an official study would have to be completed before any connections to the weekend’s weather can be linked to climate change, but added that the science indicates that warmer air can hold more water, so rainfall is increasing on average across the world.
‘In some places, rainfall is becoming more intense as well. Heavy rainfall is also more likely.
‘Since 1998, the UK has seen seven of the 10 wettest years on record. The winter storms in 2015 were at least 40% more likely because of climate change,’ he said.
Four stations remain closed, although only Stepney Green is due to flooding, but there’s good service across most train and tube services. Three others – Chancery Lane, Southwark and Temple – are closed due to staff shortages.
Eastbound Metropolitan line trains are not stopping at Liverpool Street and step-free access is not available due to flooding.
London Fire Brigade said last night that in total they had more than 600 calls to flood-related incidents including flooding to roads and properties, reports of ceilings collapsing and vehicles stuck in water.
Boris Johnson tweeted his thanks to the emergency services and volunteers after England’s south was battered by thunderstorms.
‘My thoughts are with everyone affected by the flooding in London and the South East,’ the Prime Minister tweeted.
‘A huge thank you to the emergency services and volunteers helping families and businesses through this difficult time.’
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: ‘We are seeing increasing incidents of extreme weather events linked to climate change.
‘This is not the first time in recent weeks that London has been hit by major flooding. Despite having limited powers in the area, it remains a key priority for myself and London’s council leaders that more is done urgently to tackle flooding and the other impacts of climate change.
‘This includes continuing to urge Thames Water to address localised issues with infrastructure that may exacerbate the impact of flooding.’
Downing Street said the Environment Agency would support any councils affected by flooding.
A No 10 spokesman said: ‘The Environment Agency are looking at the situation closely and continue to work with local authorities to ensure that any support they need is provided.’
The spokesman said Boris Johnson agreed with scientists that extreme weather was more likely as a result of global warming, but it was a matter for experts to decide whether individual events were down to the phenomenon.
‘The Prime Minister completely agrees that climate change is going to lead to more extreme weather events, which is why we are doing what we’re doing to try and reduce greenhouse gases,’ the spokesman said.
The Government was pushing for the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow ‘to lead to positive changes to come’.
Pictures from the streets of the capital yesterday evening show fire crews using specialist equipment to rescue drivers from stranded cars.
Pictured: A car is left covered in mud and debris today one day after being stuck in floodwater in Battersea, London
Police wade through deep flood water to assist a van driver whose vehicle is submerged in Chigwell Road, London, today
A London taxi drives through water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms district of London today after thunderstorms
Under water: The subway at South Woodford Station, pictured today, has flooded after heavy rainfall yesterday afternoon
London Fire Brigade crews had to come to the rescue after two cars became stranded in flood water at Worcester Park today
Flooding in Chigwell today after thunderstorms hit London last night
Pictured: Volunteers inflated a dinghy and carried stranded passengers from a submerged bus in London
Pictured: Water on the dancefloor at Walthamstow Trades Hall, a members’ club in north-east London, after heavy rain fell on Sunday
Pictured: The A406 Southend Road remained closed into this morning as floodwater submerged both sides of the road
New Cross Road became ‘a river’ amid the heavy downpours, and video showed Pudding Lane tube station almost completely submerged.
Meanwhile, residents in north-east London used buckets, brooms and wooden boards to create makeshift flood defences for their homes, while water gushing from an Underground station was caught on video.
Restaurant manager Mariya Peeva, who lives in Woodford, said her neighbour’s bedroom was flooded, and her son worked with other residents to prevent the rising rainwater from deluging their home.
Ms Peeva, 46, said: ‘My son went to buy some food from the local shop – by the time he came back the whole street and the pavement were already flooded and the water was coming into our front door.’
Londoner Eddie Elliott, 28, said the flooding was the worst he had ever seen it, after he cycled past Queenstown Road station where the road had been ‘totally shut down’.
He said: ‘Having been born and raised in London, I have never seen anything quite like it.
‘It stands out as the worst I’ve experienced personally … totally shut down the whole road with buses stood broken down in the water.’
A makeshift defence created by residents in Woodford to protect their home from floodwater after heavy rainfall hit London
Residents scramble to stop floodwater from entering their homes after torrential downpours in the capital yesterday
Homes, roads and Tube stations flooded while two London hospitals asked patients to stay away after thunderstorms and battered the south yesterday. Pictured: fire crews use specialist equipment to rescue a stranded driver in Worcester Park
The River Roding in East London burst its banks yesterday afternoon after torrential downpours. Pictured: Chigwell Road
Residents attempt to unblock a drain in south Woodford after a junction is submerged in rainwater after torrential downpours
London Fire Brigade said they received more than 600 calls to flooding related incidents yesterday including to stranded cars
Newham Hospital had a similar appeal, writing on its Twitter account: ‘Our Emergency Department has flooded in some areas. We’re still here if you need us but to help us while we fix things please attend a neighbouring hospital if possible. Thank you!’
Standon Calling festival in Hertfordshire was also cancelled due to the floods.
The festival said in a statement: ‘Unfortunately due to flooding we will no longer be able to proceed with the festival.
‘If you can safely leave the site this evening please do so as soon as possible. We are working on getting everyone off site as safely and quickly as possible.’
The rain brought an end to the heatwave earlier this week, but temperatures are set to rise in most places again on Monday as the storms clear, with the mercury predicted to reach 78F in London, 77F in Edinburgh, 75F in Cardiff, and 71F in Belfast.
The Met Office has predicted early cloud in some northern and eastern parts which will move up to Scotland, and sunny spells and scattered showers in most places throughout the day on Monday.
Pictured: The scene at Pudding Lane Tube station, which is seen above totally submerged under water
Canary Wharf business park buildings seen through heavy rainfall as a mass storm passes over the city on Sunday afternoon
Lightning strikes near Canary Wharf business park buildings with a bolt appearing to hit Aragon Tower in south east London
A yellow warning for storms also covers a wider area of the south from Norwich to Plymouth, and lasts until midnight
Police officers stop traffic from driving into flood waters and redirect traffic after severe rain caused flooding in east London
The Met Office has issued an amber warning for storms covering London and some of the Home Counties
Met Office rain gauges looking back over six hours saw 34mm of rain at Sandhurst and 32mm at Wych Cross in East Sussex. An Environment Agency rain gauge recorded 52mm of rainfall in an hour just west of Ashford. Pictured: Nine Elms, London
Rain brought an end to a heatwave earlier this week, potentially disappointing anyone who hoped for a sunny trip to the coast
Parts of south east England saw up to 50mm of rain in just an hour on Sunday afternoon as the area was battered by torrential rain (Pictured: People walking in Wimbledon Common, south west London, shelter from heavy showers under an umbrella)
Two friends in summer dresses shelter themselves from heavy rain showers which broke the week long heatwave in London
Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates said the storms are being caused by a ‘convergence’ of air currents, due to warmth in the earth’s surface from the recent heatwave rising into cooler air in the atmosphere. Pictured: Nine Elms district, London
Pictured: London Firefighters look along Chigwell Road in south Woodford which goes under the A406. The Metropolitan Police have declared a ‘major incident’ in north-east London after heavy rainfall and thunderstorms caused flash flooding
The river Roding appears to have burst its banks close to the Charlie Brown roundabout below the A406 North Circular Road in South Woodford. Police have closed Chigwell Road either side of the roundabout and it remained closed overnight
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasey told constituents she could ‘share this pain’ because her house had also been flooded
A cyclist rides through flood water in Horse Guards Road in central London as thunderstorms pelted the capital yesterday
A woman walks through Parliament Square as heavy rain sweeps through central London during torrential rain yesterday
A toilet overflows on Pudding Lane, London, as the capital’s infrastructure struggles to cope with the flooding
Battersea, London, flooded from the rain. It comes after lightning set fire to houses in Andover, Hampshire, on Saturday
There was a warning for heavy downpours and thunderstorms for southern England and South Wales from 8pm Friday and over the next two days with up to 2in (50mm) of rain expected within just a few hours. Pictured: a flooded street in Battersea
Wood Green High Street, in East London, taped off to the public as a result of flash flooding following heavy downpours
Parts of south east England saw up to 50mm of rain in just an hour on Sunday afternoon. Pictured: Wood Green high street
Wood Green High Street in the aftermath of flash flooding. The heavy downpours are also expected to continue
A torrential downpour in East London.Leytonstone High Street in East London flooded after a torrential downpour
Residents and business owners get creative as they try to protect their properties from flooding in Leytonstone High Street
Pedestrians sheltering underneath umbrellas in Wimbledon Village. The great British summer getaway began on Friday
Jamie Curtis said the roads near Clapham Common were blocked due to floodwater which was ’12 to 18 inches deep’.
‘(I’ve) not seen that level of flooding in London before,’ he said.
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy told constituents she could feel their pain – because her house was flooded too.
Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates said the storms are being caused by a ‘convergence’ of air currents, due to warmth in the earth’s surface from the recent heatwave rising into cooler air in the atmosphere.
It comes after lightning set fire to houses in Andover, Hampshire, on Saturday morning, forcing residents to leave.
Neighbours heard an ‘enormous bang’ as the strike set two homes ablaze on Mercia Avenue, and a 70-year-old woman was assessed by paramedics.
Kingston Police, who oversee a borough in the amber zone for storms, warned motorists to ‘drive carefully’ and remember they are ‘not driving a submarine’.
The force said in a tweet: ‘Please remember to drive carefully. Also remember that you’re not driving a submarine. Do not enter what could possibly be deep water. Watch your speed and distance as stopping distances will be greater.’
River water levels rose yesterday after downpours. Pictured: A burst water pipe next to Hammersmith Bridge, in West London
There was a warning for heavy downpours and thunderstorms for southern England and South Wales from 8pm Friday
Handout photo of in buses in flood water in Battersea, south London, after heavy rainfall hit the capital
Man walks through flood water in Horse Guards Road in central London. Thunderstorms brought heavy rain to the south east
Pictured: A pedestrian crosses through deep water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms district of London during heavy rain
A woman walks through a flooded path in St James’s Park in central London. Kingston Police, who oversee a borough in the amber zone for storms, warned motorists to ‘drive carefully’ and remember they are ‘not driving a submarine’
A car drives through water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms district on London following hours of heavy rain in the capital
Two people shelter under the same umbrella as they walk through the grass at Wimbledon Common on the rainy Sunday
One park-goer in Wimbledon shelters herself from the rain while a friend stands nearby while they walk through the Common
Rain bounces off the pavements in central London as people shelter under umbrellas as the capital was battered with rain
Two friends in summer dresses shelter themselves from the rain during heavy showers which broke a week-long heatwave
Heavy rain pounds the streets in Soho, London. The capital city saw flash flooding as a result of extremely heavy downpours
Two people cosy up under an umbrella walking in Wimbledon Village during the heavy rain showers on Sunday afternoon
Thunderstorms brought torrential downpours and localised flooding to parts of the south east on Sunday
The rain brought an end to the heatwave earlier this week, potentially disappointing anyone who hoped for a dry, sunny trip to the coast.
The rest of the country was forecast to experience a cloudy, more settled end to the week with sunshine expected in Scotland.
Temperatures are set to rise in most places again today as the storms clear, with the mercury predicted to reach 26C in London, 25C in Edinburgh, 24C in Cardiff, and 22C in Belfast.
The Met Office has predicted early cloud in some northern and eastern parts which will move up to Scotland, and sunny spells and scattered showers in most places throughout the day.
Last week Britons heading on staycations to campsites and caravan parks along the south coast were warned over incoming storms, hail and 55mph winds which were set to hit England on Friday evening and last throughout the weekend.
Traffic navigates through deep water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms district of London on Sunday during heavy rain
A car drives through deep water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms during the torrential downpour
A cyclist wades through deep water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms district of London on Sunday