UK weather: More than a month's worth of rain falls in one afternoon as holiday travel chaos continues

Delays and cancellations affected passengers travelling by planes, trains and automobiles

Peter Stubley
Sunday 29 July 2018 08:12
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UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

Parts of the UK were deluged with more than a month's worth of rain in just a few hours as the weather continued to wreak holiday travel chaos.

The Met Office upgraded a weather warning for Northern Ireland to amber as the torrential downpour caused flooding of roads and businesses in Antrim.

Belfast International Airport saw 88.2mm of rainfall on Saturday afternoon - well above the 81.2mm average for the region for the whole of July - and passengers complained of delays of up to five hours.

Elsewhere in Britain the knock-on effects of the heatwave led to three-hour delays for passengers heading to Europe from Folkestone and cancellations of Ryanair flights at Stansted Airport.

Eurotunnel said the long waiting times were caused by failures in the shuttle air conditioning due to the extreme heat, while Ryanair blamed thunderstorms and air traffic control staff shortages.

Drivers were also hit with huge delays after a vehicle caught fire in the middle of London's Blackwall Tunnel, leading to the major river crossing being closed in both directions from around 6.30pm on Saturday.

Tfl said the tunnel was not expected to open "this side of midnight" due to the damage caused by the blaze.

After weeks of uninterrupted hot weather, the highest temperature recorded on Saturday was a meagre 24.0C, at Cavendish in Suffolk and Weybourne in Norfolk.

The Met Office said that it was the first time in July that nowhere in the UK had reached 25C.

One benefit of the rain was the number of sightings of double rainbows across the country.

Heavy showers spread to western Scotland on Saturday evening and further rain and wind is expected throughout Britain on Sunday.

"It's a very unsettled weather picture across the whole of the UK," said meteorologist Sarah Kent.

A yellow weather warning for rain and wind is in place for Wales and southern England into the afternoon. Wind speeds of up to 40mph inland are expected, and campers have been warned to take precautions.

Ms Kent said: "The warning is in place particularly for holidaymakers who are out camping or towing their caravans, they are going to see some very strong gusts."

The heatwave, which last week contributed to a "high" air pollution alert being issued for London, is set to return towards the end of next week.

"We will see more settled conditions across southern areas by the weekend, with temperatures creeping back towards 30C in places," said Ms Kent.

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