Brits braced for hay fever nightmare as thunderstorms set to unleash pollen

Brits are set to be battered by storms and downpours this week – posing a nightmare for hay fever sufferers.

The Met Office said increasing levels of pollen will be present across the country, particularly in the south of England.

Miserable weather conditions could help release more of the pesky spores.

The forecasting body said: “During a thunderstorm, high humidity can split pollen grains, releasing a higher density of pollen into the surrounding air.

"Any rainfall causes a marked decrease in pollen concentration in the air, but the time and amount that it rains during the day is very important.

"Early, heavy and prolonged rain is likely to keep counts low all day whereas rain in the afternoon will have less of an impact."

Today, pollen levels will be highest in London and the south east of England.

As the week progresses, the spores will spread to the east and the south west of the country.

However, the counts are expected to fall by Saturday, May 15.

Wales, the Midlands, and the north of England will record medium levels for the majority of the week, while pollen counts are set to be low in most of Scotland.

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More than 10 million people are thought to suffer from hay fever in the UK.

The rain will be confined to Scotland tonight, but heavy showers with hail and thunder will move southwards across northern parts of the UK on Wednesday, May 12.

More persistent rain is afterwards set to arrive in southern England.

The Met Office’s forecast for Thursday to Saturday reads: “Sunny spells and showers, these heavy at times with hail and thunder.

“Some longer spells of rain at times. Temperatures close to normal with light or moderate winds.”

It followed torrential rain and gales on Saturday, May 8, as a week's worth of rain fell in 24 hours in some areas.

Brecon Beacons, in South Wales, saw 125 mm of rain as the UK stuttered towards summer.

And the Environment Agency issued a flood alert as two rivers in the Midlands rose following a night of heavy rain.

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The wet conditions are likely to continue May 22, with “longer spells of rain and showers”.

The Met Office said: “It's likely to be breezy at times; especially around coastal areas, where gales may occur.

“Temperatures will be near to or slightly below average, though with the formation of overnight frosts becoming unlikely."

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