Goodbye sunshine as parts of UK set to be battered by thunderstorms as Met Office issues weather warnings

21 May 2024, 09:15 | Updated: 21 May 2024, 09:42

Thunderstorms are returning to parts of the UK
Thunderstorms are returning to parts of the UK. Picture: Met Office

By Flaminia Luck

We all knew it was too good to be true! After a few days of warm and sunny weather, rain and thunderstorms are returning to some parts of the UK.

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The Met Office has issued two yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms for parts of South West England and Northern Ireland until 9pm on Tuesday.

The forecaster said heavy showers and thunderstorms are likely, potentially bringing disruption and flooding.

Parts of the areas affected could experience up to 60mm of rain as well as possible hail.

Parts of Northern Ireland are under the yellow warning
Parts of Northern Ireland are under the yellow warning. Picture: Met Office
Parts of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset will experience rain and thunderstorms
Parts of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset will experience rain and thunderstorms. Picture: Met Office

The Met Office said conditions brought by the warnings could also bring power cuts and loss of services to homes and businesses.

Newry, Derry/Londonderry, Enniskillen, and Coleraine amongst others are covered by the yellow weather warning.

In England, towns such as Plymouth, Exeter, Salcomber and Taunton will also be affected.

Read more: Good news if you missed the Northern Lights as aurora borealis could return to some UK skies tonight

The Met Office added: Heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop during the afternoon across parts of southwest England before slowly dying out during the evening.

Many places will miss the worst, but where they do develop, some slow-moving and intense downpours are possible, giving accumulations of 20-30 mm in around 1 hour, and a lower likelihood of 40-50 mm in 2-3 hours in a few locations.

Frequent lightning strikes and hail are also possible.

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For Northern Ireland, they said: Slow-moving heavy showers are expected to develop, especially across central and western parts of Northern Ireland, through the late morning and into the afternoon.

In some areas 20-30 mm could fall in just an hour or two, with the wettest spots perhaps seeing as much as 50-60 mm.

Hail and lightning may be secondary hazards in places.

Showers and storms should ease into the evening.

Heavy rainfall and wind in Belfast
County Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone are under the warning. Picture: Getty

The Met Office has shared advice following the updates.

What to Expect

  • pray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures
  • Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services
  • There is a slight chance that power cuts could occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost
  • There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds

Driving in storms, rain and strong wind

Choices and planning ahead

  • Even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen. A good rule of thumb is ‘if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down’.
  • If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears.
  • If you can, choose main roads, where you are less likely to be exposed to fallen branches and debris and flooding.
  • Use dipped headlights if visibility is seriously reduced.
  • Gusts of wind can unsettle vehicles – grip your steering wheel firmly with both hands. This is particularly important when planning to overtake.
  • Keep an eye out for gaps between trees, buildings or bridges over a river or railway – these are some of the places you are more likely to be exposed to side winds. Ensure that you maintain enough room either side of your vehicle so you can account for it being blown sideways.
  • Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front.
  • Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared.

What to do when the road is flooded

  • If the road is flooded, turn around and find another route. The number one cause of death during flooding is driving through flood water, so the safest advice is turn around, don’t drown.
  • Although the water may seem shallow, just 12 inches (30cm) of moving water can float your car, potentially taking it to deeper water from which you may need rescuing.
  • Flood water also contains hidden hazards which can damage your car, and just an egg-cupful of water sucked into your car’s engine will lead to severe damage.
  • Never drive through flood water. Turn around.