UK weather: Heavy rain, lightning and hail bring disruption, with further storms to come

Downpours cause problems for transport and sports matches

Tom Batchelor
Thursday 29 July 2021 13:14 BST
Dramatic hail storm hits Northampton as stormy weather batters UK

Parts of the UK were buffeted by stormy weather on Wednesday with heavy rain, lightning and hail bringing disruption amid warnings of further downpours in the coming days.

Amber and yellow weather warnings have been issued for rain in northwest England and wind in southwest England on Thursday and Friday, with gusts of up to 65mph predicted.

Hail measuring 2cm-wide was reported in the Midlands while blustery winds and surface water have disrupted transport.

Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said: “That area of hail we've seen through Northampton, we have had reports of hail that is up to two centimetres in diameter and up to 35mm of rain falling in some places in an hour.

“Surface water on the road there will make for very difficult driving conditions.

“We're also going to see short periods of blustery winds.”

One social media user in Stoke described the hail as “the size of garden peas”.

The weather has caused disruption to transport, sport matches and even a hospital in Manchester.

The women's Hundred cricket match, scheduled at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, was called off because of the wet weather, while elsewhere in Greater Manchester patients and staff were evacuated from a hospital following a lightning strike.

Firefighters were called to tackle the blaze on the roof of the Trafford General Hospital though a spokesperson said that all those evacuated were safe.

On Wednesday evening, an amber warning was in place in northern Scotland for what the Met Office said would be “prolonged heavy rain” which was “likely to cause travel disruption and some flooding”.

Yellow warnings are in place for a larger swathe of northern Scotland and in northwest England, both for rain.

The Met Office said “homes and businesses are likely to be flooded” and that ”fast flowing or deep floodwater is possible, causing danger to life”.

The warning, which covers Moray, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen and the Highlands, is in force until 6am on Thursday.

Thursday sees yellow warnings for rain in Scotland and northwest England, and for wind in southwest England.

By Friday, only the yellow warning for wind remains in place in southwest England.

“An area of strong to gale force winds are possible and may cause damage to infrastructure and lead to travel disruption,” the Met Office said.

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