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Torrential rain and thunderstorms hit UK

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Media captionBBC Weather’s Ben Rich says thunderstorms will drift north and westwards

Torrential rain is lashing large parts of the UK as severe thunderstorms hit, causing flooding and travel disruption.

A Met Office amber warning – meaning a potential risk to life – is in force across Wales and the south west of England until 06:00 BST on Friday.

Fire crews are being called out to flooded homes as river levels rise.

Ryanair and Easyjet have cancelled some flights. Rail passengers are suffering delays and cancellations and roads have been closed.

Easyjet said 48 flights in and out of Gatwick Airport were cancelled because of the thunderstorms.

Ryanair said some flights were delayed, while “a small number” had to be cancelled because of the weather.

Customers left waiting in airports in Berlin and Budapest voiced their frustration on social media.

Ryanair has apologised for the inconvenience and says it has contacted all affected customers by email or text message to advise them of their options.

Great Western Railway trains, which serves south Wales, and southern and western England, are running more slowly than usual after Network Rail imposed a precautionary blanket speed restriction.

  • What should you do in a thunderstorm?
  • How do you recover from being struck by lightning?

Other developments on Thursday included:

  • In West Sussex, fire crews pumped out water from flooded businesses and homes in Haywards Heath and Billingshurst
  • In Bristol, roads in the suburb of Bishopsworth were left under a foot of water, according to Bedminster Fire Station
  • Part of the M50 motorway was closed for a time due to flooding. The A49 near Ludlow, in Shropshire, was shut for more than three hours.
  • In west Berkshire, a flood warning was issued on the River Lambourn,
  • Trains journeys were disrupted between Birmingham New Street and Cheltenham Spa after lightning damaged signals
  • Didcot Parkway railway station, in Oxfordshire, was flooded

A yellow warning for rain has been issued for the south east of England, the Midlands and East Anglia.

The wet weather is predicted to move into northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Friday morning, with flooding and possible disruption to travel predicted.

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Met Office

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Amber and yellow warnings for Thursday night and Friday morning

In the amber warning areas, there may be frequent lightning, power cuts and a potential risk to life and property.

If you’ve been affected by the rain and storms, you can email

A yellow warning is also in place for Saturday across Scotland and Northern Ireland, with heavy showers and thunderstorms expected to develop in the late morning.

Much of the rest of the country, however, can expect warm weather and sunshine over the weekend.

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Media captionLightning struck across the UK last weekend

The Environment Agency has urged people to check their flood risk – especially if they are travelling to unfamiliar areas over half term.

The organisation also said that south west England, Hampshire and the West Midlands were most at risk, with urban areas most likely to suffer from flash flooding.

Kate Marks, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said teams would work “24/7” to operate flood defences, clear blockages in rivers and streams and offer support at incidents of surface water flooding.

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Media captionResidents filmed the flooded streets around Birmingham during last weekend’s storms

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