A SEVERE weather warning has been issued for violent thunderstorms due to hit tonight.

“Heavy rain” and “frequent lightning” will batter southern England and parts of south Wales – despite next week’s 27C heatwave.


Lightning illuminates the sky at St Catherine’s Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight[/caption]

©Graham Hunt

Beachgoers flocked to Durdle Door in Dorset yesterday to soak up the sunshine[/caption]

Met Office

A yellow weather warning for thunderstorms is in force across England and Wales[/caption]

The yellow alert, which covers the area between London, Oxford, Cardiff and Plymouth, is in force from 8pm until 5am tomorrow.

It warns: “Although the locations affected by thunderstorms remains uncertain, a few places may experience a combination of heavy rain, frequent lightning and hail during Sunday night.

“Should thunderstorms develop, they are likely to move north from the south coast during Sunday evening into parts of south Wales, southern England and East Anglia overnight before gradually weakening during Monday morning.

“Whilst some places will remain dry, a few places may see 20 to 30mm (0.7 to 1.2in) of rain fall in less than an hour, with frequent lightning and hail additional hazards.”



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Forecasters also warn the grim weather could spark floods, while strikes and ice pelts might also cause damage to some buildings.

And the Met Office has urged those travelling to take extra care and allow additional time.

Some roads may be forced to close and driving conditions could be challenging – and train and bus services face delays and cancellations.

The squall will be a shock to the system for most Brits after balmy sunshine yesterday.

Temperatures hit a summery 23.5C in Northolt, West London – just shy of the 23.6C in Faversham, Kent, on May 6, which holds the record for the hottest day of the year so far.

And while the sun might struggle to poke through the clouds today, it will still feel very warm.

Brits could be in for record-breaking highs of 25C in and around London.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: “After a warm and sunny day for many parts, we will see showers start to push their way in from the south.

“That’s down to this plume of warm and humid air coming off the continent.

“That’s going to allow some heavy showers to develop and the odd rumbling of thunder as well.

“Down in the south east though, we could see highs of 25C, and that will be the hottest day of the year so far.

“But with that warm and muggy air, we will then see further showers start to push in from the south once again through overnight, and again, a risk of thunder for many southern parts of the country.”

In the following days, a tropical blast will sweep further in from the south, plunging the UK into another steamy hot spell.

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The mercury is set to rocket by late Tuesday, with potential highs of 27C.

It will make Blighty hotter than holiday hotspots Barcelona and Lisbon, where temperatures will struggle to surpass 23C.

©Graham Hunt

Bolts fill the sky above Swanage in Dorset as thunderstorms move north across the Channel[/caption]

Swimmers go for a dip at Tynemouth Longsands beach
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