Blood rain, hail and lightning to batter UK as huge plume of Saharan dust hits Britain

18 May 2022, 11:13

Heavy downpours of red and orange coloured rain are forecast to fall in parts of the UK
Heavy downpours of red and orange coloured rain are forecast to fall in parts of the UK. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

'Blood rain' is set to sweep across the UK this week as heavy thunderstorms mix with a huge plume of Saharan dust.

Heavy downpours of red and orange coloured rain are forecast to fall in parts of the country and there is a risk of lightning, strong winds and hail.

According to the Met Office, "blood rain" occurs when relatively high concentrations of red coloured dust or particles get mixed with rain, giving it a red appearance as it falls.

The weather phenomenon is described as "relatively rare" with weather experts saying documented cases are "few and far between".

A yellow thunderstorm warning has also been issued from Wednesday evening to the early hours of Thursday in the south-east, including London, with people being told to expect travel disruption.

Read more: Britain's red mist: Saharan dust which blanketed parts of Europe arrives in UK

According to the Met Office, "blood rain" occurs when relatively high concentrations of red coloured dust or particles get mixed with rain
According to the Met Office, "blood rain" occurs when relatively high concentrations of red coloured dust or particles get mixed with rain. Picture: Alamy

It comes after Britons basked in the country's hottest day of the year on Tuesday, after temperatures in the south-east peaked at 27.5C.

Richard Miles, of the Met Office, explained: "There are some dust concentrations in the atmosphere above the UK at present which might well be washed out in the rain tonight, but it's likely to be relatively small amounts on the whole.

"There's a warning out for thunderstorms for the south-eastern third of England tonight, and a squally cold front will bring wind and sometimes heavy rain to Northern Ireland and north west Scotland this evening.

"Away from these features it will be mostly fine and dry today and tomorrow, temperatures up to 23-24C in London and the South East, high teens or low 20s elsewhere."

Read more: First image of massive black hole at centre of Milky Way galaxy unveiled by scientists

The thunderstorms may cause spray and sudden flooding, leading to difficult driving conditions and some road closures, there may also be delays or cancellations to train and bus services.

The Met Office has warned parts of the country will experience "torrential downpours and frequent lightning" with "large hail and strong wind gusts".

Forecasters say power cuts are possible and there is a chance that homes and businesses could be flooded, with damage due to floodwater or lightning strikes.

As much as 25mm of rain could fall in just one hour whilst there is a "possibility that somewhere could catch over 40 mm in two or three hours".

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