Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Amber 'risk to life' warning issued over incoming thunder storms
14 October 2019, 15:10
The Met Office has issued a rare Amber warning over incoming thunder storms which are set to batter much of south east England this afternoon.
It has predicted 40mm of rainfall could descend on parts of the UK, sparking fears widespread floods could become a reality.
The warning covers a huge area spanning from Brighton to Norwich, and also includes a large majority of Greater London.
The amber warning means there is the possibility of travel delays, road and rail closures, power cuts and the potential risk to life and property.
On Monday, a yellow warning was issued covering central and southern parts of the UK stretching from Brigg in North Lincolnshire to Weymouth in Dorset and Canterbury in the South East.
People in those areas have been warned of heavy rain and a small chance of flooding and disruption.
The warning is in place from noon to midnight with between 0.6in (15mm) and 1in (25mm) of rain expected to fall across the area.
Up to 2.4in (60mm) of rain could fall in isolated areas within the warning area, the Met Office said.
"We have an unsettled week with quite a lot of rain," spokeswoman Nicola Maxey told the PA news agency on Monday.
"There's a warning out for quite a lot of rain to come through today, especially for the southern and central areas, where it will be heaviest."
The Environment Agency has issued four flood warnings for England, three of which are for the River Avon in the South West, near Bristol and Bath.
As of 10.45am, the agency had 44 flood alerts in place across the South West, Midlands and parts of Yorkshire.
Parts of the UK have already seen more than half of their average monthly rainfall, the Met Office said.
Norfolk in East Anglia has been drenched, with 91% of the county's monthly rain falling already.
In the South West, Wiltshire has also had a wet October, experiencing 89% of its average monthly rainfall so far.
The UK as a whole has seen 55% of its average monthly rainfall, which Ms Maxey said is not abnormal for this time of year.
"When you get into winter, you tend to see long spells of rainfall and it comes across the whole month and it's more evenly spread, but we're in that transition period," she said.
The Met Office said Scotland, northern England and the West will remain mostly dry for the first few days of the week before another weather front brings downpours to those areas on Wednesday.
The low pressure system is forecast to start moving across the country on Wednesday night, with a chance of thunder in the West.
Strong winds and locally heavy showers are expected, particularly in the West from Wednesday to Friday.