Thunder and flood warnings after fires rage through homes in Britain's record 40C heat

19 July 2022, 20:36 | Updated: 19 July 2022, 21:00

Thunder warnings have been issued
Thunder warnings have been issued. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Britain's weather woes are not yet over as warnings about heavy rain and thunderstorms causing disruption were issued.

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The UK baked under 40C heat for the first time in its history, as fires broke out across the country and the rail network was thrown into turmoil.

At least 13 people have died in Britain's heatwave, as the public was urged to try and avoid unsafe swimming.

Meanwhile, London Fire Brigade was among several fire services that declared a major incident as flames tore through homes in places like Wennington, east of London, which devastated houses and scorched the earth.

Read more: 'I just hope our house is still there': Devastating fires break out as UK endures 40C heat\

Read more: Ferocious wildfires rage in Europe as thousands of homes evacuated

Coningsby recorded a high of 40.3C, the all time record, according to the Met Office.

But weather experts there have warned Tuesday's overwhelming heat will be followed by a turn in the weather on Wednesday.

"Heavy showers and thunderstorms may bring disruption during Wednesday afternoon," it warned, issuing a yellow warning for much of the South East, including London and Oxford, the East of England, and part of the East Midlands.

Fires devastated Wennington on Tuesday
Fires devastated Wennington on Tuesday. Picture: Getty

It said: "Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services.

"Spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures.

"There is a slight chance that power cuts could occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost."

The warning was made for 1pm – 9pm on Wednesday. Temperatures in London were forecast to get no higher than 27C.

Fires broke out across the UK, sending smoke billowing over homes and motorways as firefighters rush to tackle them.

UK needs to adapt national infrastructure to deal with extreme heat

The biggest fire was in Wennington where multiple homes were ablaze, as dramatic footage showed tall flames and smoke billowing from properties there.

At least one home appeared completely destroyed while thick black smoke covered the village as residents left their belongings and hoped their house was still standing.

Land near the burning buildings also got torched, with parts of the grassland setting on fire.

The London Fire Brigade, which declared a major incident, said "15 fire engines and around 100 firefighters dealing with this blaze on The Green".

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said the fire service was coming under "immense pressure".