Torrential rain hits Britain

Parts of Britain were hit by torrential rain and gale force winds today as summer looked to have come to a rude end.

Up to 4cm of rain fell overnight in areas of southern England - more than half the normal monthly total - with 40mph winds adding to the unseasonal blast.

Holidaymakers face more unsettled conditions through the week, potentially bringing a blustery curtain down on the traditional summer period.

Thorney Island in Hampshire bore the brunt of the overnight downpour as the stormy weather moved west across southern England.

The holiday spot was in line for nearly 4cm of rain - with half of that falling between midnight and 1am. Wind speeds in the area topped out at gale force eight, or 40mph.

Plymouth in Devon also saw similar conditions, resulting in difficult travel conditions.

Widespread flash flooding looked to have been averted, however, with fire brigades in Hampshire and Devon reporting no major call-outs and just handing out advice.

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings overnight for Wales and much of England - predicting rainfall of up to 5cm in isolated areas.

Andy Ratcliffe, from MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the rain was due to clear in eastern England mid-morning, leaving much of the UK with sunshine and showers and blustery winds.

He said: "It's looking unsettled for the rest of this week.

"The meteorological summer ends in August, but there's a lot of uncertainty about what will happen at the end of the week. But it is looking unsettled."

The wet and windy weather comes from a band of low pressure being pushed across the country by the jet stream.

This stream was much further north during the extended sunny spells of June and July, diverting much of the unsettled conditions away from the British Isles.

Average rainfall for August in southern England is between 6cm and 7cm.