Rain hits UK and temperatures drop to 28C after hottest day on record

What a difference a day makes! Typical great British summer returns as rain sweeps across the UK and temperatures drop by 15C just 24 hours after hottest day on record

  • Lyme Regis beach almost deserted today in wet and grim conditions after hottest day on record yesterday
  • Forecasters say rain and thunderstorms will hit much of England throughout this afternoon and evening
  • Met Office issues warning until 10pm for the possibility of flooding, lightning strikes and power strikes
  • Forecasters say sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions while trains could be cancelled

It was a packed beach yesterday with thousands of sunseekers who had flocked to the Dorset coast to sit on the sand or swim in the sea and make the most of what turned out to be Britain’s hottest day on record.

But Lyme Regis was a very different sight today, with the beach almost deserted and low numbers of people walking along the promenade wearing coats and taking cover under umbrellas as the resort faced heavy rain.

Downpours and thunderstorms will hit much of England throughout this afternoon and evening – with the Met Office issuing a warning until 10pm for the possibility of flooding, lightning strikes and power strikes.

Forecasters said spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures, while delays and cancellations to train and bus services were possible as well as the chance of power cuts.

The Met Office warned of ‘slow-moving torrential downpours’ for parts of England with up to 1.2in (30mm) of rain in an hour and more than 2in (50mm) in three hours, adding that lightning was possible in southern areas.

And conditions were also significantly cooler today with highs of 30C (86F) in the East, 27C (81F) in the South East, and just 21C (70F) in the South West – a stark contrast to the unprecedented 40.3C (104.5F) yesterday. The Met Office said temperatures were about 15C lower this afternoon than they were at the same time in areas yesterday.


TODAY AND YESTERDAY: The seaside resort of Lyme Regis in Dorset is almost deserted on a wet and dreary day today (left) one day after sunseekers flocked to the beach to enjoy the record-breaking heat yesterday (right)


The Met Office said temperatures were about 15C lower this afternoon (left) than they were at the same time yesterday (right)

Visitors to Lyme Regis wear coats and shelter from the rain under umbrellas as they walk along the seafront today

But Network Rail said downpours on dry ground following the extreme heat could cause flooding and overwhelm track drainage this afternoon and evening – just as operators try to get services back up and running again.

It comes after the searing heat set a new record for the hottest day ever in the UK of 40.3C (104.5F) at Coningsby in Lincolnshire yesterday, beating the previous record of 38.7C (101.7F) in Cambridge set in July 2019.

Passengers stranded for more than 24 hours after heatwave grinds rail services to a halt: Chaos at King’s Cross, Euston and St Pancras on day THREE of disruption

Rail bosses have warned services could be further delayed by heavy rain today with passengers already stranded after almost every service in and out of London King’s Cross was axed following the UK’s hottest day on record.

Network Rail said downpours on dry ground following the extreme heat could cause flooding and overwhelm track drainage this afternoon and evening – just as operators try to get services back up and running again.

Passengers wait for information at London Euston today after mass cancellations of services to the North West and Scotland

Thunderstorms will hit much of England this afternoon and evening, with the Met Office issuing a warning from noon until 10pm saying flooding and lightning strikes could result in ‘delays and some cancellations’ to trains.

LNER – which operates trains between King’s Cross and Edinburgh via York and Newcastle – issued a ‘do not travel’ warning today and urged people to not even go to the London hub. Two other operators who run services from King’s Cross – Lumo and Hull Trains – said they were told by Network Rail to cancel all services today.

Passengers trying to head north from London Euston also continued to face major delays following damage to overhead electric lines in four different locations.  At St Pancras, there were almost no services and East Midlands Railway warned of ‘overcrowding’ at stations with trains and crew out of place after line closures.

But the UK was today counting the cost of the extreme heat, with dozens of homes destroyed in wildfires that raged in the conditions after the mercury climbed above 40C (104F) for the first time in the country.

Major fire incidents were declared in London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire amid the tinder-dry conditions.

Sadiq Khan said the London Fire Brigade had received more than 2,600 calls throughout the day – seven times the usual number.

The London Mayor added that there were more than a dozen simultaneous major fires and that 41 properties including homes and warehouses were destroyed in the capital.

He also urged Londoners not to have barbecues because conditions continued to be very dry.

In Wennington, East London, a devastating blaze destroyed two rows of terraced houses, four other homes, as well as outbuildings, garages, stables and cars and affected 40 hectares of grassland.

And in Dagenham, a grassland fire destroyed and damaged houses and vehicles.

Elsewhere, a serious blaze occurred in Barnsley when a row of houses in the Moorland Avenue area was consumed by flames, with crews continuing to battle fires elsewhere in the area.

Doncaster Council said a major blaze in Clayton also spread to three residential properties and there were reports of houses on fire in the Kiverton Park and Maltby areas of Rotherham.

Firefighters in Norfolk were called to more than 80 incidents on Tuesday, including one that started in a field in the village of Ashmanhaugh and spread to two homes.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said it had been called to more than 60 incidents, 38 of which were fires in the open, describing the situation as ‘unprecedented’.

London Ambulance Service said it had taken 13,400 calls to 999 over the two days, the equivalent of a call every 13 seconds.

Early data shows that yesterday, the service saw a ten-fold increase in incidents related to heat exposure compared to last week, and an 8 per cent increase in people fainting, it said.

Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News that the fires were a ‘warning sign’ about the impact of climate change.

‘This is a remarkable, unprecedented event and something which obviously, because people have been saying, we are not used to seeing in this country,’ he said. ‘What we’ve seen in recent days is not normal and it is a warning sign.’

Also today, protesters from Just Stop Oil climbed motorway signs on the M25 and caused disruption over what they describe as the Government’s ‘inadequate preparations’ for climate change.

The Met Office has issued a thunderstorm warning from 12pm until 10pm today saying flooding and lightning strikes could hit

A very wet day on the Dorset coast at Lyme Regis today, one day after record-breaking heat brought people to the beach

A couple walk along the promenade under an umbrella at Lyme Regis today as the conditions turn on the Dorset coast

Their actions were causing nine-mile tailbacks on the M25 anti-clockwise, with the National Highways website warning of delays of more than an hour.

On the railways, National Rail told customers to check before setting off on their journeys and to only travel if absolutely necessary, as teams worked to fix problems with tracks and overhead wires caused by the heat.

More than two dozen services departing from London King’s Cross and Euston were cancelled or delayed, while there were also major issues for passengers at St Pancras hoping to travel to the East Midlands.

Services on the East Coast Main Line, the main rail artery connecting London and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster, York and Newcastle, were hit after a fire spread on to the track near Sandy in Bedfordshire yesterday.

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