Exeter Airport was today forced to close after heavy rain flooded the Devon airport’s terminal amid warnings form the UK’s official forecaster that more than half a month’s worth of rain could fall in a single hour.
Videos show travellers standing in the flooded terminal with water up to their ankles as it was announced that all flights to and from Exeter Airport would be cancelled for the rest of today – causing travel chaos for passengers.
Flash flooding also hit the nearby seaside town of Dawlish as the Met Office warned parts of England could today see half a month’s worth of rain fall in just a single hour.
The weather forecaster said 30-40mm of rain fall over just one hour today – in a downpour that would see volumes of rain equivalent to over half the September average of 55-60mm.
The UK’s official forecaster also warned lightning, hail, and strong winds are set to batter parts of England and Wales today, as it said there is even a ‘small chance’ lives could be put at risk by the tumultuous weather.
A person braves the wet weather with an umbrella on Wimbledon Common in south-west London
An Ironman competition was cancelled in Weymouth due to the threat of electrical storms
Slow traffic in heavy rain on the M62 near Brighouse in West Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)
The Met Office predicted thunderstorms across South Wales and the south west of England until 6pm today as it said homes and businesses could be at risk of flooding.
The British government forecaster also warned of similar weather in London, the East Midlands and the south east and east of England until 6am tomorrow.
In some parts of southern England, the Met Office predicted that 30-40mm of rain could fall – volumes equivalent to at least half the September average of 55-60mm.
Homes and businesses could be in danger of flooding quickly in the downpours, although the risk is said to be low, the Met Office said.
There is also a ‘slight chance’ of power cuts or that other services to homes and businesses could be lost, while some communities could also be cut off by floodwater, the forecaster added.
The Met Office warned of ‘surface water flooding’ in Devon following torrential downpours
People in London shielded themselves from the rain with umbrellas as they walked across the Jubilee Bridge
Beachgoers enjoyed a dreary day at Durdle Door following the recent spate of warm weather
The Pen-Inn underpass in Newtonabbot, Devon flooded following heavy rain on September 17
The Ironman contest’s swimming section was cancelled in Weymouth due to the weather
The Met Office said buildings could also be damaged by lightning, hail or strong winds.
People planning to travel face the prospect of delays or sudden cancellations to trains and buses.
Roads may be closed at short notice due to spray and sudden floods and ‘difficult driving conditions’ are expected on those that remain open.
Heavy rain brought ‘torrential downpours’ across the south west of England on Sunday morning, with localised flooding in south Devon.
The band of rain is expected to move into the south east of England on Sunday afternoon.
Met Office meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said ‘there is a chance these thunderstorms turn severe’ and bring ‘gusty winds with quite significant torrential rain’.
The Met Office issued yellow warnings as it predicted heavy rain and thunderstorms
The UK’s official forecaster warned of thunderstorms and flooding in parts of Devon
Walkers shield themselves from the rain on Wimbledon Common using an umbrella
The beach at Durdle Door looked dreary amid an overcast sky and wet, rainy weather
A woman takes a photo of flooding at the Penn-Inn underpass in Newtonabbot, Devon
A lightning storm hits Blyth on the Northumberland coast (Owen Humphreys/PA)
They will move relatively quickly, making it difficult to pin down where exactly will be worst affected, Mr Vautrey said.
He added: ‘It is certainly worth keeping up to date with the forecast.
‘Although the warning area covers the whole south east of England, not everywhere in that region may see the most severe thunderstorms.
‘It is worth checking those things immediately before you head out on your journey so that you are aware where the most severe thunderstorms are possible.
‘Make sure you are taking care as the weather could change at very short lead times, and just be prepared for those gusty winds and potentially large hailstorms.’
Conditions are expected to remain ‘blustery at times’ early next week but are likely to be fresher.
More storms are possible as the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which hit New England in the US and eastern Canada, is set to move across the UK between Tuesday and Thursday.
It will no longer be a hurricane by the time it reaches UK shores.
Mr Vautrey said: ‘That will be getting picked up by the jet stream. Showers in places could be heavy with a risk of further thunderstorms.
‘It could be quite an unsettled, autumnal week to come.’