Bank holiday weather: Britain set for respite from rain


Britain should get some respite from the dismal Bank Holiday weather today before further heavy rain and strong winds bring a disappointing end to the long weekend.

Widespread torrential downpours battered the UK's shores yesterday with up to an inch of rain falling in some places.

The wet weather caused transport problems across the country and prompted the Environment Agency (EA) to issue a number of flood warnings and alerts.

More rain is expected in England later, but forecasters said the showers should not be as widespread or heavy as yesterday's powerful deluges.

Andy Ratcliffe, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It will be a dry day for most of the UK today but there will still be the chance of a few showers across northern England, the Midlands and East Anglia throughout the morning.

"You could catch the odd heavy one but they will not be as widespread or as bad as yesterday."

One flood warning - the second highest alert which means flooding is expected - is in place at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire after heavy showers caused rising river levels yesterday.

Fourteen flood alerts - the lowest level of warning which means flooding is possible - have also been issued. Eight are in place in the north-west, four in the north-east, and one in both the Midlands and the south-west.

Heavy rain is expected to return overnight with winds of up to 50mph bringing a gusty end to the Bank Holiday weekend.

Mr Ratcliffe said: "The winds will strengthen overnight and bring rain in western areas of the UK which will spread eastwards during Monday.

"The showers will become heavy and persistent and exposed western areas will be hit with gusts of 50mph.

"People in the south east should escape much of the bad weather however."

In Kew Gardens, west London, 18mm of rain fell in just one hour yesterday afternoon with other deluges causing travel misery.

Train delays were reported after lightning damaged signalling equipment in Solihull, West Midlands, Cleethorpes, in Lincolnshire, and at London's Cannon Street station.

Flooding also caused trains to be suspended between Fulwell and Shepperton, in Middlesex.

Transport for London said flooding forced the closures of Covent Garden and Lambeth North stations.

Gloucester Road station was also closed on the Piccadilly line while Aldgate station was shut anti-clockwise on the Circle line.

Shoppers in Cambridge reported that a number of shops in the city centre had to close temporarily due to flooding.

The Port of Dover said the weather also brought gale force winds on the Channel while Sunderland's Premier League clash against Reading in Wearside was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Temperatures are not expected to reach much higher than 20C (68F) over the weekend - a stark contrast with last weekend when the thermometer touched 32C (90F).

Around 1.8 million Britons have headed abroad for the bank holiday break. Travel organisation Abta said Spain and its islands were the most popular overseas destinations for Britons this weekend.