UK weather: Four days of thunderstorms to bring more danger not relief after country scorched by bushfires at weekend | UK News

Britain is braced for several days of thunderstorms after a hot weekend that saw parts of the country battling bushfires – but the changes to the weather are likely to bring more danger than relief, meteorologists have warned.

Lack of rain and high temperatures have caused drought conditions that have turned much of the country’s landscape from green to brown and yellow.

An amber heat warning remained in place on Sunday as temperatures stayed north of 30C in parts of the UK.

Significant fires have been reported in parts of London, Kent and Essex over the past two days, while the weather has also resulted in incidents of people get into trouble while swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea.

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Smoke billows along the road as the fire ravages Kent

The fire and rescue services have tackled a huge number of forest fires around the country, especially in the South East, where there has been little rain at all since January.

Several services have described the recent demand as “unprecedented”, with Dorset reporting that in the first 10 days of August they attended 180 bushfires – compared to just 34 last year.

And the four days of thunderstorms expected next week aren’t likely to offer much relief.

Instead, the driest conditions in almost 50 years, which have the water level in the reservoirs visibly lower and drought officially declared in eight areas of England on Saturday, may lead to flooding.

The thunderstorms are likely to bring significant rainfall, but it may be too much too soon.

Geographers and meteorologists say that the best type of rain to bring the earth out of its parched state would be a light drizzle.

Rather than soaking into the baked ground, the downpours expected could lead to large amounts of surface runoff – potentially causing flash floods and even power cuts, the Met Office has warned.

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drought regions in England

Thunderstorm warnings in place to start the week

Met Office forecaster Dan Stroud explained that “the rain from really intense downpours will not be able to absorb quickly into the baked ground”.

“It’s very difficult for the water to actually get in because it has to force the air out of the soil. So dry ground gets overwhelmed very quickly and we then get surface runoff,” he added.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for the thunderstorms, saying they could cause significant disruption on Monday across all but the most northern parts of the UK.

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“Spray and flash flooding may cause difficult driving conditions and some road closures,” it said.

“There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwaters, lightning, hail or strong winds.

“Where there is flooding or lightning, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations of train and bus services.

“There is a small chance that power outages may occur and other services to some homes and businesses may be lost.”

The yellow warning for thunderstorms will fall south through the week, affecting only England on Tuesday, and then the very south of England on Wednesday.

No warnings are in place for Thursday.

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