As it happenedended1532811982

UK weather: Met Office warns torrential downpours and thunderstorms could lead to flooding as holiday travel chaos continues - as it happened

Follow the latest updates as thousands of holidaymakers suffer travel disruption due to extreme weather

Samuel Osborne
Saturday 28 July 2018 22:06
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UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

Heavy thunderstorms and torrential rain marked the end of the UK heatwave, with the Met Office warning they could cause danger to life, sudden flooding and power cuts.

Thursday saw the highest temperature recorded in the UK since 2015, with the mercury in Faversham hitting 35.3C (95.5F).

While forecasts earlier in the week suggested Friday could see the record for the hottest July day broken, the hottest it got was 34.7C at Tibenham Airfield in Norfolk.

Yellow warnings were in place for most of England into the early hours of Saturday, and in north-east Scotland until 2pm.

Torrential downpours were forecast, with as much as 30mm of rainfall in one hour and 60mm in three hours, while large hail, frequent lightning and strong, gusty winds will be additional hazards.

Parts of Northern Ireland were hit with more than a month's worth of rainfall in just a few hours on Saturday afternoon, with Belfast International Airport recording 88.2mm of rain. The average for the month of July is 81.2mm.

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While some will have welcomed the rain and the cooler temperatures, those keen to catch a glimpse of the blood moon, the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century, will have been disappointed.

The cloud cover meant the rare celestial event was not visible to many from Hampshire and Wiltshire in the south and south west, to Hull in east Yorkshire, Liverpool in the north west and Dublin in Ireland.

Meanwhile, police forces have been called following concerns for people’s welfare at rivers and a lake.

Thames Valley Police said a man’s body was recovered from the Jubilee River in Slough, adding that his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Warwickshire Police said emergency services personnel searching for a 17-year-old boy who disappeared after getting into difficulty in a quarry lake in Bishops Itchington, near Leamington Spa, have recovered a body.

Essex Police said the body of a teenager who went missing near Clacton Pier on Thursday evening has been found.

Bedfordshire are also looking for a man who got into difficulties in the river Great Ouse on Friday afternoon.

Lightning flashes over Humber estuary near Hull as clouds obscure a view of the blood moon, the longest lunar eclipse of the century which sees Earth’s natural satellite turn blood red

Elsewhere, cross-Channel rail operator Eurotunnel cancelled thousands of tickets after “extreme temperatures” caused major disruption to services.

On UK trains, passengers were urged to avoid travelling on London North Eastern Railway (LNER) on Friday after lightning damaged the signalling system.

Train firm Northern advised passengers not to travel in the Yorkshire area due to the same issue.

On the roads, motorists were warned of lightning, flash flooding and large hailstones.

A mix of toxic air, extreme highs, emissions from the continent and a lack of cloud cover caused a “high” air pollution alert to be issued for London.

Elsewhere, authorities said the heatwave was causing “winter conditions” in parts of the NHS, while many nurses were said to be dizzy and exhausted.

Additional reporting by agencies

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live blog marking the end of the UK heatwave, which was brought to a close by heavy thunderstorms and torrential rain.

The Met Office issued alerts warning the storms could cause danger to life, sudden flooding and power cuts.

Yellow weather warnings are in place for most of England into the early hours of Saturday, and in north-east Scotland until 2pm, with torrential downpour, large hail, frequent lightning and strong, gusty winds forecast.

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 10:31
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Holidaymakers are experiencing long delays on flights, ferries and Eurotunnel trains amid extreme weather conditions in the UK and thunderstorms across Europe.

Passengers travelling to France on cross-Channel rail operator Eurotunnel have been warned they could face waits of up five hours at its Folkestone terminal.

Families heading for summer getaways on the Continent by ferry were told to expect long queues on the roads into the Port of Dover with a minimum two-hour wait to get through border checks.

P&O ferries advised its customers to take plenty of drinks, snacks and entertainment for their wait.

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 10:42
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The knock-on effect of thunderstorms across London and eastern England on Friday night was causing delays, with further flight cancellations expected due to thunderstorms in Europe.

A Stansted Airport spokesman said long queues shown in pictures posted on social media were caused by passengers who stayed overnight in the airport trying to re-book cancelled flights with airlines.

"There are no cancellations but there are delays because of the knock-on effect and some restrictions because of storm activity in Europe," he said.

"All the advice is, if you are due to travel today, check with your airline about your individual flight."

Gatwick Airport said on Twitter: "Adverse weather across Europe is affecting flights in and outbound from Gatwick Airport, this may result in delays and cancellations.

"Please contact your airline for specific flight information before you travel to the airport."

Similarly, Luton Airport tweeted: "Due to thunderstorm activity across Europe this morning, air traffic control restrictions are in place and some flights may be subject to delay or cancellation."

A Heathrow Airport spokeswoman said: "We seem to be experiencing some minor delays."

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 10:55
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Nats, the UK air traffic control service, which was due to handle 8,841 flights in 24 hours, said thunderstorms have affected flights across the UK.

"NATS is working closely with the airports and airlines to ensure safety and to continue providing the most efficient operation possible during this adverse weather period," a statement said.

"Dealing with bad weather is one of the most difficult things for air traffic controllers to manage.

"Its unpredictable nature means aircraft are not able to fly their usual routes, which results in unusual flight patterns.

"Thunderstorms are particularly disruptive as they effectively block large swathes of airspace because aircraft cannot fly through them.

"Passengers are advised to contact their airline for the latest information on individual flights."

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 11:00
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The body of a teenager who went missing near Clacton pier in Essex on Thursday has been found and identified as 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine, Essex police said. 

The force said in a statement: "Officers are no longer looking for a teenager who went missing in £Clacton shortly after 6.30pm on July 26.

"We were called following reports that a body had been found near to Clacton Pier shortly before 8am this morning, Saturday July 28.

"Police have provisionally identified him as 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious but the cause of death is currently unknown and enquiries are ongoing. A file will be submitted to HM Coroner in due course."

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 11:07
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There's going to be a big change in temperature this weekend, with the UK 10C cooler in some places today compared to yesterday, according to the Met Office. 

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 11:21
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There were 17,500 lightning strikes recorded over the course of Friday evening, according to the Met Office. 

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 11:42
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Sir Tom Jones was forced to cancel a concert due to the wet weather last night.

York Racecourse tweeted to say the singer's show had been called off because of the "thunder and lightning storms".

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 11:52
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It seems we're in for a windy weekend.

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 12:04
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Conditions could get worse over the weekend, with the RNLI issuing advise for people going out on the water in wet and windy conditions. 

Tony Wafer, RNLI community safety manager, said: "If you are heading to the coast this weekend, please find out where your nearest lifeguarded beach is and ask the lifeguards for advice on conditions, especially if you are going in the water.

"RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards have had four times as many rescues of inflatables so far this summer than they did last year."

Samuel Osborne28 July 2018 12:19

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