Storm warning as rains arrive

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The Independent Online
RAIN LASHED many parts of Britain, flooding homes, businesses and roads yesterday. While most attention was paid to the West Country ahead of tomorrow's total eclipse, severe-weather warnings were issued to the Midlands, the South East and East Anglia.

Norfolk fire services received many calls after downpours took thousands by surprise. Phil Berry, station officer at Norfolk Fire Service HQ, said homes and businesses in the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston areas had been hit particularly badly. "We are mainly pumping water out of people's properties and workplaces but there is a lot of flooding outside too." Parts of Suffolk were also badly hit.

In the West Midlands, 30 families in Balsall Common were evacuated after flash floods that also disrupted trains between Birmingham New Street station and Walsall.

The AA said several roads, including the A12 in Lowestoft and A449 near Wolverhampton, were flooded.

There was a "significant amount" of water on the M25 in Hertfordshire and on the M4 near Heathrow.

The airport tunnel was reportedly waterlogged. A spokesman said: "We are warning motorists to slow down a bit ... People are driving too fast for the conditions."

The North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland were dry and bright yesterday, with few prospects of showers.

But forecasters said the chances of more summer sunshine looked slim for the next five to seven days. The weather is expected to become unsettled again at the weekend.