A ‘danger to life’ amber warning has been issued for parts of south-west England as thunder, lightning and flooding are set to wash out the UK’s scorching heatwave.
A yellow weather warning has come into force across the country, with the additional amber warning in place for Cornwall, Devon and Somerset until 8pm on Monday.
The Met Office has implemented the yellow warning for Northern Ireland until 11.59pm on Monday and 11.59pm for all of England and Wales on Tuesday after a change in air pressure led to dramatic showers.
A yellow weather warning for rain has been issued for Scotland on Tuesday until 10am, following a similar warning for thunderstorms on Monday.
The south-west and south-east of England also face a third day of yellow warnings on Wednesday until 11.59pm, as the rain eases off elsewhere.
The downpours come after an official drought was declared in eight areas of England on Friday.
Greg Dewhurst, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said the week would start off quite humid before cooling down later on.
He said: “We’ll start off initially quite humid, particularly across the south and the east of the UK, with thundery showers and sunny spells, but it will gradually become cooler and fresher as the week goes on.
“First half of the week, we’re looking at some heavy downpours and thunderstorms developing.
“You can sort of see that sort of transition coming in from the north, it’s day by day.
“It’s still hot tomorrow (Monday), we’re looking at highs around 31C, possibly 32C, and then it starts to come down.
“As we head towards Tuesday, temperatures are around 26C or 27C. Wednesday Thursday will be the mid 20s.
“So probably tomorrow is the last day where we’ll see temperatures above 30C for the rest of the week.”
Danger on the roads
Power cuts and delays and cancellations in trains and buses are predicted, while spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions for motorists.
Drivers are urged to be careful.
Simon Williams, RAC’s road safety expert, said: “When roads or conditions have been so dry, flash floods are going to appear and cause a danger to drivers.
There’s a risk of aquaplaning as the water won’t drain away quite as quickly. The risk of slipping and sliding is also greater.
“Make sure you’ve got good tread on your tyres and they’re properly inflated, because the tread is the only thing that keeps you in contact with the road. Also, leave plenty of space between your car and the car in front.”
A spokesman for the AA also warned about slippery surfaces on the roads as a result of rubber build-up from tyres.
The drought ‘isn’t over’
Christine Colvin, director of advocacy and engagement at the Rivers Trust, said there is a risk that people will not take the drought seriously in the coming days “just because it rains”.
“We want people to keep this rainfall event in context and as part of the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is that we’ve actually still had an incredibly dry year as well as a dry summer, and it’s going to take sustained rainfall to replenish our supplies.”
“Just because it rains, it doesn’t mean the drought is over,” Ms Colvin added. “It seems very counterintuitive, but it’s going to take sustained rain to replenish the supplies we actually use, which are the aquifers and the manage storage in our reservoirs.”
The official drought was declared last week by the National Drought Group (NDG), which comprises representatives from the Government, water companies, the Environment Agency (EA) and others.
Three water companies – Welsh Water, Southern Water, and South East Water – have all imposed hosepipe bans, while Yorkshire Water has announced a ban will start on August 26 and Thames Water is planning one in the coming weeks.
Another hosepipe ban will come into force in Cornwall and parts of North Devon next week, according to South West Water, who announced the measures to curb water usage on Monday morning.
Meanwhile two people are missing after getting into difficulty in rivers in England during the hot weekend weather.
Temperatures soared to 34C on Saturday and Sunday as the spate of sunny and hot weather continued across the UK.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue service said they received reports at 6:37pm on Sunday of a man missing near the Weir at Stoke Bardolph.
Eight crews were sent to find the man and the incident has since been handed over to the police. The body of a man aged in his early 20s has been recovered from the River Thames near Hampton Court.
He was reported to be in the water just before 4.15pm on Sunday and a search was launched by officers from the Metropolitan and Surrey Police, London Fire Brigade and the lifeboat.
At around 10.30pm a body was pulled from the water by police divers. The man’s family have been told.