STORMS across the UK will bring last week’s scorching weather to a sudden end – here’s when to expect the downpour.
Today yellow weather warnings cover most of the UK except for the far North of Scotland.
Tomorrow the alert will just apply to England and Wales, then by Wednesday only the South of England will be affected.
The Met Office warnings caution Brits to beware of flashfloods, lightening and even power cuts.
“Hit-and-miss” thunderstorms are expected to bring “torrential downpours” to some areas.
Spray and sudden floods could close some roads and even damage some buildings.
The Met Office also said there is a slight risk of power cuts.
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Despite the drizzle, temperatures will remain in the 20s across the country – feeling far cooler than last month’s record-breaking heat.
Water companies have also issued hosepipe bans in a desperate effort to save the UK’s water supplies.
Yet the unsettled weather forecast for this week might not bring enough rain to replenish the crisp ground.
Experts fear the downpours may make little difference to the water shortage as it could be the “wrong sort of rain”.
The Environment Agency also claimed the drought could continue into next year as reservoir levels are so low amid the lengthy dry spell and record temperatures.
Met Office meteorologist Dan Stroud said of the forthcoming storms: “It will help a little but, to be honest really, it’s almost the wrong sort of rain. What we’re likely to see is some heavy, intense downpours.
With the ground baked so dry, it’s very difficult for the ground to actually absorb the water very quickly.
“With the ground baked so dry, it’s very difficult for the ground to actually absorb the water very quickly. So what tends to happen in these circumstances is the water runs off and we can potentially get some surface run-off issues, so some flash floods.”
Yesterday the parched park was packed as millions nationwide made the most of the last day of the heatwave.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We are very sorry to report that, following earlier information about an incident at Lakeside, Doncaster, a body has now been found.” The temperature soared above 30C in many parts yesterday as forecasters issued an amber warning for heat.
The Met Office warned people could experience “adverse health effects” such as sunburn or heat exhaustion due to the hot weather.
Firefighters across the country were also dealing with a string of wildfires on tinder-dry grassland and moors.
Crews battled blazes in Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Derbyshire, Wiltshire and North Yorkshire.
Two men were arrested after a disposable barbecue caused a fire in woodland near King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Norfolk Constabulary said the pair, both 44 and from Boston in Lincolnshire, had been arrested on suspicion of arson and criminal damage and were taken into custody for questioning.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue said crews tackled a blaze in Braunston yesterday also caused by a disposable barbecue. Some stores have banned them amid warnings that they are a fire risk.
Many areas are reporting the highest level of risk, according to the Met Office Fire Severity Index, with weeks of drought creating an “unprecedented” situation.
Dorset and Wiltshire said there had been a 429 per cent increase in wildfires in the first ten days of August compared to the same period last year.
We had this problem last year as well
The extreme heat also caused metal safety barriers to buckle on the A63 in East Yorkshire
An official drought has been declared in eight areas of England by the National Drought Group.
John Curtin, executive director for local operations at the Environment Agency, said it would take “weeks’ worth of rain” to replenish water sources.
Labour called on the Government to summon an emergency Cobra meeting to ensure supplies keep flowing through the drought. Residents in Surrey were left without water on Saturday after issues hit the Netley Mill Water Treatment Works.
Thames Water apologised and handed out bottled water to locals in Guildford, Surrey Hills, Dorking and Horsham while engineers worked to restore the supply.
Councillor Liz Townsend said: “We had this problem last year as well here. And to be honest, the service is not fit for purpose now and residents are rightly getting very, very annoyed about what they’re having to put up with.”
It comes as three companies – Welsh Water, Southern Water and South East Water – have all imposed hosepipe bans and Yorkshire Water has announced a similar one will start on August 26.
Thames Water is planning a ban in the coming weeks and South West Water will do the same from August 23.
Insurance firms also reckon claims for damage to homes could almost double this year due to increased subsidence caused by dried-out clay.
‘Plenty of rain’
The Association of British Insurers estimate that 50,000 claims could be made, costing firms £400million.
As the country battles the effects of sky-high temperatures and a lack of rainfall, it will also have to batten down the hatches this week in the face of storms.
The Met Office yellow weather warning for the next three days reads: “There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds.
“Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services. There is a slight chance that power cuts could occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost.”
The rain came early north of the border with storms hitting parts of Scotland yesterday, where flash floods in Inverness caused an evacuation of a Tesco store.
Environment Agency worker Rob Davies tweeted yesterday: “Plenty of rain up in Scotland. I’ll try and send some south.”
The Met Office’s Mr Stroud said the sudden change in the weather was due to a shift in air pressure.
He explained: “We’ve had a number of days now where we’ve had clear, strong, clear skies and strong sunshine which has heated up the ground.
“We’ve had high pressure dominating. Now we’re having low pressure dominate, so the air is becoming more unstable.
“As we’ve had some very high ground temperatures, it doesn’t actually take too much for the air to become even more unstable and for thundery showers to develop quickly.”