Thunder and lightning warning for large stretches of the UK, as mile-long swarm of flying ants hits the south coast

9 July 2023, 12:05 | Updated: 10 July 2023, 12:29

Thunderstorm warnings are in place
Thunderstorm warnings are in place. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

The Met Office has issued warnings for thunderstorms for parts of the UK, with fears of damage to homes and businesses.

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The stormy weather could cause power cuts in some areas, and the Met Office warned that some communities might become cut off if roads flood.

The yellow warning is in place between 11am and 8pm on Sunday and covers millions of households in south-west England and Wales, as well as Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: "Areas of heavy showers and thunderstorms are likely to form over parts of southwest England and Wales during Sunday.

"Whilst the majority of these will move through fairly quickly, giving short-lived downpours or thunderstorms, there is a chance of them lining up with a few spots potentially seeing repeated bouts of heavy rain and thunder.

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Two women protect themselves from the heavy rain in Speke, Liverpool.
Two women protect themselves from the heavy rain in Speke, Liverpool. Picture: Alamy

"Where this happens some disruption could occur with up to around 25mm of rain falling in an hour and perhaps 40mm in two or three hours. Frequent lightning, hail and a few strong wind gusts could accompany these storms."

The wet weather is likely to bring surface water flooding in parts of south-west England and south Wales, the Environment Agency warned. Flooding is also possible elsewhere in Wales and the west of England.

Emergency services rescue a woman from her vehicle after it got stranded on a flooded road
Emergency services rescue a woman from her vehicle after it got stranded on a flooded road. Picture: Alamy

It comes as swarms of flying ants were spotted on and around the south coast of England over the weekend.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said: "Every year around this time we do pick them up on the rain radar. At the moment it’s harder to tell because we’ve got so many showers and the ants look like showers.

A flying ant in a garden in Lancashire
A flying ant in a garden in Lancashire. Picture: Alamy

"When we do get the rain, they don’t fly as much. It’s generally the southern parts of the UK where we tend to notice it most.

He added: "They were picked up on the radar on Friday. It was much drier and it was easier to spot them. They can be seen several miles across – they look like very heavy showers. On Friday it was about a mile."

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