Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Spectacular moment lightning strikes Hampshire ahead of summer's return
19 May 2022, 16:09 | Updated: 19 May 2022, 16:14
Spectacular footage captured last night shows lightening strikes across the sky as the UK braces for "torrential downpours" of "blood rain".
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The dramatic videos shared on social media show the breath-taking moment lightning shoots down from stormy clouds, lighting up the dark night.
More than 20,000 lightning strikes were recorded on Wednesday night but Met Office spokesperson Nicola Maxey said the display did not break the record of 110,000 strikes which happened in June 2012.
Yellow weather warnings were in place across the south of the UK yesterday with the Met Office warning thunderstorms may cause spray and sudden flooding, leading to difficult driving conditions and some road closures.
Weather experts forecast that parts of the country would experience "torrential downpours and frequent lightning" with "large hail and strong wind gusts".
Residents were told power cuts were possible and there was a chance that homes and businesses could be flooded, with damage due to floodwater or lightning strikes.
Heavy downpours of red and orange coloured rain are forecast to fall in parts of the country towards the end of the week.
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".
⛈️ Did you get awoken by the weather last night?— Met Office (@metoffice) May 19, 2022
⚡ Frequent #lightning affected many southern and eastern areas of England
🌤️ The rain is now clearing the far SE and skies are brightening to leave a fine and warm day for most pic.twitter.com/RSz6xYvSsX
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."