Britain is set for three days of heavy rain, with the Met Office issuing weather warnings after a prolonged heatwave.
With an extreme heat warning coming to an end at midnight tonight, new thunderstorm warnings are now in place across the country.
There are fears that the rainy weather after such an intense dry spell will lead to flooding and do little to ease drought conditions – despite the scorching weather being replaced by thunderstorms.
But it could reduce the threat of bushfires, which have put enormous pressure on fire services around the country in recent weeks.
The temperature reached 34.1°C in Charlwood, Surrey, earlier today, according to the Met Office, which issued a yellow warning for thunderstorms across parts of Northern Ireland earlier this evening.
It expired at 10pm, but a yellow warning will be in place for virtually the whole of the UK tomorrow.
By Tuesday and Wednesday, only southern parts of the country will be involved.
The forecaster has warned of thunder, lightning and power outages as showers move in.
Dan Stroud, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said the drastic change in weather is due to a change 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 warmed up the ground.
“We have had high pressure dominance, now we have low pressure dominance, so the air becomes more unstable.
“As we’ve had some very high ground temperatures, it actually doesn’t take much for the air to become even more unstable and for thunderstorms to develop quickly.”
The change comes after an official drought was declared in eight areas of England on Friday by the National Drought Group (NDG).
Three water companies – Welsh Water, Southern Water and South East Water – have also introduced hose bans, while Yorkshire Water has announced a ban will start on August 26 and Thames Water is planning one in the coming weeks.
But Stroud said despite the likelihood of intense showers over the next few days, it was unlikely to ease the drought.
“It will help a bit, but to be honest it’s almost the wrong kind of rain,” he said.
“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… so what tends to happen in those circumstances is the water runs off and we can potentially have surface runoff issues, so some flash flooding. ‘
The hot weather led to several bushfires breaking out across England, with fires breaking out in Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Essex and Devon.
It comes as a search is also underway for a man in the River Thames in west London after he was reported to be in difficulty in the water.
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The Metropolitan Police said a “multi-agency response” was in operation after they received reports of the man in the water at Hampton Court at 4.12pm.
Meanwhile, severe weather has already hit Scotland.
Shoppers were evacuated from a Tesco supermarket in Inverness as water poured in through the roof.
Videos on social media showed tiles in the ceiling falling to the floor and water pouring in, covering most of the store’s floor on Sunday.
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