Heavy rain causes flooding and road closures as storm warning extended

Heavy rain caused flooding in parts of England on Thursday afternoon, closing some of the country’s busiest roads.

Highways England said severe flooding closed the M25 between junction six and seven and at one stage, there were delays of 70 minutes as queues stretched 11 miles to junction nine.

The M25 anti-clockwise between junction nine and eight was also closed due to flooding, with 80-minute delays, as other roads across England were also affected.

As at 11.30pm Thursday, junction seven to eight still had two lanes closed, according to Highways England’s website.

The Met Office has warned that the flooding could last into next week, with weather warnings covering large parts of the UK.

A yellow thunderstorm warning issued for Friday has been extended until midday on Saturday. This covers Wales and most of England.

Met Office forecaster Matthew Box said: “We’ve got the risk of thunderstorms right through to the start of next week, and maybe even beyond that.”

Some areas could see as much as 40mm of rain falling in less than an hour, the Met Office said.

The M25 remains CLOSED between junction 6 and 8 due to this flooding.@HighwaysSEAST have managed to pump enough water to get the hard shoulder running, so those trapped in the closure will slowly make their way through.

Police are now resuming and HE will continue to deal. pic.twitter.com/mGRYaMF4hh

— Roads Policing Unit (RPU) – Surrey Police – UK (@SurreyRoadCops) August 13, 2020

On Thursday afternoon, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service received numerous calls relating to flooding in Devon, with some residents saying there was up to 18 inches of water inside their homes.

In Kent, 19 people were rescued from a train which became stuck after a landslide between West Malling and Borough Green, British Transport Police said.

Six flood alerts are in place for parts of the West Midlands. A flood alert means that flooding is possible.

But temperatures were cooler on Thursday, with a top of 29.6C (85.3F) in Frittenden, Kent, Mr Box said.

It follows six consecutive days of temperatures above 34C (93.2F) for the first time since at least 1961.

There is a risk of more stormy weather across the south on Friday, especially in the West Country and South Wales, with conditions remaining humid.

Mr Box said: “Although we’re unlikely to see overnight temperatures stay above 20C (68F), apart from maybe in London, most places will see temperatures in the high teens for the majority of the UK, particularly in the south.”

Thundery showers will return to the southwest and parts of South Wales on Friday and other areas will be cloudy, particularly central and eastern England.

Northern Ireland, north west England and western Scotland are likely to have sunshine, Mr Box said.