23 Jul 2013

Storms follow hottest day in seven years

Weather Presenter

Violent thunderstorms have followed the hottest day the UK has experienced in seven years, bringing travel disruption to some areas.

Poole Harbour Lightning

On Monday, the temperature reached 33.5C at Heathrow airport in London, making it the hottest day of the year so far and the hottest day that the UK has seen since 20 July 2006.

As the heat and humidity reached a peak, violent thunderstorms formed and drifted northwards across a large swathe of the country, giving hail, thunder and active displays of lightning.

Rush-hour passengers in Scotland, northern England, the west Midlands, East Anglia and southern England were all affected by the stormy weather, with disruption to travel.

Manchester was one of the worst affected areas, where railway signalling was struck by lightning. As a result, trains were unable to move in and out of the city’s Piccadilly station, with cancellations or severe delays of up to 90 minutes.

Train services between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh had to be suspended, after signals there were also struck by lightning.

As well as lightning, torrential rain caused problems, with large amounts of rain falling in a short space of time.

Pershore in Worcestershire had 56.4mm of rain overnight, which is more the 50.2mm that would be expected for the whole month of July.

The intensity of the rain caused flooding in parts of Kent, with delays to trains between Faversham and St Pancras International station in London and to services between Strood and Tonbridge.

This month’s hot weather has taken its toll on the UK, with grass fires in London, mountain blazes in the Welsh valleys and forest fires in Fife. Also, hundreds of premature deaths are believed to have been caused by the heatwave.

In the coming days, the weather is going to turn cooler and less humid, with temperatures returning closer to average. However, despite some sunshine, further thunderstorms are expected at times.