Streets and railway lines submerged as Kent thunderstorms trigger flash floods

Streets and railways lines were partially submerged after flash floods rushed through a Kent town.

The sudden thunderstorm in Tunbridge Wells led to train and bus delays and comes after a stretch of scorching weather and uninterrupted sunshine.

Video posted online showed fast-moving water gushing through streets in the town after around 20 minutes of rainfall between 4pm and 5pm on Thursday, the Met Office said.

A yellow weather warning put in place on Thursday for London and south-east and south-west England expires at 7pm.

Jonathan Short described a "torrent of rain descending" and "drains erupting" and said there were flooding concerns from local shop owners who had been flooded before.

Met Office meteorologist Dean Hall said the storms were now losing their potency and that the worst was over.

He said: "Light winds and high temperatures means we get a sea breeze developing along the coast. It’s caused by temperature differences by land and sea and sets up a pressure difference.

"That unstable atmosphere can be enough to trigger these thunderstorms."

Hard ground conditions means the water is less absorbed into soil, he added.

Thunderstorms and torrential rain were predicted to hit parts of the UK this afternoon but the heatwave is set to continue thereafter.

Forecasters warned flooding and lightning strikes could cause delays to trains and buses.

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for a stretch of southern England from 12pm to 7pm.

Up to 30mm of rain was predicted to fall in an hour.

It is expected to be cooler on Friday before getting warmer again over the weekend.

Temperatures in the south are expected to reach 32C on Sunday and Monday.

The Met Office and Public Health England (PHE) have upgraded their heatwave alerts for west England into the middle of next week.

There has been an increase in the number of patients at GP surgeries and calls to NHS 111 for heat-related conditions such as sunstroke, heatstroke and insect bites over the last two weeks, according to PHE.

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Dr Thomas Waite, of PHE, said: "While many of us will be enjoying the hot weather over the next few days, for some it can pose a real health risk.

"So it is critically important that we keep an eye on friends, family and neighbours who may be at risk."

Elderly people, young children and those with heart or lung conditions are most likely to suffer ill effects in the heat.

"We will see a long spell of fine, dry, sunny weather," Mr Madge added.

He said the heat is being caused by an area of high pressure, adding: "That has created an area of clear air above the UK, cloud is suppressed and winds have been low and that has allowed maximum heat to come through from the sun."

"It’s homegrown warmth."

The hot conditions are expected to continue into next week.

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