Storms batter Britain: A&E floods and M1 plunged into chaos as UK hit with torrential downpours

12 June 2023, 21:48 | Updated: 12 June 2023, 21:49

Thunderstorms and heavy downpours have hit parts of the UK
Thunderstorms and heavy downpours have hit parts of the UK. Picture: social media
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Parts of the UK have been plunged into chaos this evening due to heavy rainfall, with the A&E department in Luton issuing a patient notice due to flooding.

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Patients were urged to stay away from the A&E department unless they were attending for life threatening illnesses or injuries after it was hit by flash flooding.

Meanwhile, drivers on the M1 were also heavily affected by heavy rainfall this evening, with water pouring from the motorway bridge onto people's cars.

It comes amid warnings that flash flooding and thunderstorms are set to continue, with more thunderstorms to hit parts of the UK as temperatures continue to soar.

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The Met Office upgraded its warning for thunderstorms to amber on Monday afternoon, with warnings of flooding and power cuts.

The Environment Agency also issued 14 flood alerts across the Midlands ahead of the thundery showers over concerns they could produce of large amounts of surface water.

A yellow warning was also issued as torrential downpours are set to hit across Northern Ireland and Scotland between 12pm and 9pm on Tuesday.

Grahame Madge, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said it is difficult to predict exactly where thunderstorms might hit, and that people within areas likely to be affected should prepare for any sudden weather changes.

Mr Madge said: "Within these areas we can expect heavy rain, possibly hail, potentially frequent lightning.

"Just because you're within that warning area, it doesn't mean that you're guaranteed to see a storm or even hear one. By their nature, they develop quickly and in almost seemingly random areas."

He added: "Within the area we are advising that people might want to think about how suddenly they can be subjected to flash flooding or a power cut. Are people prepared? Make sure mobile phones are charged and that sort of thing.

"Because when you get these storms they can change your circumstances quite dramatically within almost a matter of minutes."

Mr Madge said that heat rising from freshly ploughed fields or over a city area could trigger thunderstorms even when nearby areas remain dry.

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Holidays have also been ruined amid the stormy weather, with more than 100 Gatwick flights cancelled.

Easyjet cancelled 54 flights taking off and landing from Gatwick on Sunday, and 55 more on Monday - meaning about 15,000 people were left grounded.

Passengers were told that they would not be getting compensation as the cancellations were outside of the airline's control.

But it does have to offer them alternative flight options as well as overnight accommodation if needed.

Further thunderstorms may be on the way in the first half of the week, with fresher conditions and temperatures set to decrease towards Thursday and Friday.

However, the sunny weather is staying with most parts of the country forecast to remain above 24 and 25C throughout the week, and temperatures potentially reaching 29C in Bristol and Birmingham over Wednesday and Thursday.

Cooler air from the North Sea will reach parts of the UK on Thursday and Friday, particularly areas along the North Sea coast and the East of England.