BRITS are battling floods, power cuts and travel chaos as torrential downpours and thunderstorms lashed the countryÂ overnight.
Emergency crews were pictured carrying commuters out of railway stations and patrolling local roads in South West England following reports of flooded homes and street power cuts.
A Met Office yellow warning, signalling a potential risk to life, is in force across Wales and South West England.
Met Office forecaster John West warned thunderstorms will turn “lively” as the day progresses.
South Western England is expected to bear the worst of the storms withÂ “frequent lightning and severe thunderstorms”.
At least 20 homes were left without power in Cheltenham from around 11pm on Thursday according to Western Power Distribution.
Gloucester roads were closed as passing vehicles pushed floodwater into people’s homes.
Gloucester Police tweeted: “Painswick Road #Gloucester is currently CLOSED from the Cotteswold Road junction to the Askwith Road.
“This is due to flooding – please do not drive around the closures as the wake caused by passing vehicles is pushing water into the homes of residents.”
Further down south in Buckinghamshire, passengers desperate to get home used a nearby fence to get onto platforms, as entrances were flooded.
Commuters at Didcot train station were pictured carrying each other and taking their shoes off as they were forced to leave the station via floodwater.
In West Sussex, fire crews pumped water out of flooded businesses and homes in Haywards Heath.
Bedminster Fire Station claimed said at least a foot of water flooded roads in Bishopsworth, Bristol.
Great Western Railway trains which serves southern and western parts of the country said “emergency speed restrictions” are in place due to flash flooding.
Line blockages are expected to affect Friday morning commutes.
Travel chaos spewed onto flights as Ryanair and Easyjet were forced to cancel many journeys because of the thunderstorms.
Easyjet said 48 flights in and out of Gatwick Airport were cancelled, while Ryanair claimed a “small number” were halted.
News of the floods comes hours after commuters were told to get themselves home quickly before thunderstorms expected to lash the country struck on Thursday evening.
Forecasters put amber-graded weather warnings for torrential downpours in place for the next two days, with thunderstorms expected until 9pm on Saturday.
Dozens of flood alerts are already in place across the South East with the Met Office warning homes and businesses could be damaged by floodwater and lightning strikes.
The heavy rainfall will outstrip the month’s average in places including Hertford – which generally only sees 60.2mm in May.
Met Office meteorologist Bonnie Diamond told The Sun Online: “There is a risk of torrential rain and downpours that could lead to flash flooding across the southern half of England and much of Wales.
“There’s a small probability of 60mm that could lead to flash flooding that could cause difficult driving conditions, road closures and damage to businesses and homes.”
Ms Diamond added: “It’s not impossible that some areas might see their total monthly rainfall in one day but it’s important to remember that all it takes is one very heavy prolonged shower.”
Kate Marks, Environment Agency flood duty manager, said: “Further heavy showers and scattered thunderstorms bring a risk of localised surface water and river flooding on Friday.
“The main risk is for the western counties of England, with urban areas most likely to see the impacts of any flash flooding.”
She said that teams from the agency would work “24/7” to operate flood defences, clear blockages in rivers and streams and supporting partners at any incidents of surface water flooding.
“With heavy rain forecast during rush hour, drivers should stay up to date with the latest weather forecast and travel information before making their journey,” she said.
“We remind people not to drive through flood water as just 30cm can move your car.”
Richard Hancox, duty tactical manager for Natural Resources Wales, asked people to “be alert” for heavy rain in South Wales.
It comes as leadingÂ bookmaker Coral has cut the odds on the UK seeing the hottest June day since records began to 4-1 from 10-1 amid signs of a potential heatwave to come in the next few weeks.
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TheÂ current record is 35.6C, recorded back in 1976. Coral are offering odds of 2-1 that next month goes on to be the hottest June on record.
Coralâs Harry Aitkenhead said: “Last June we reached well over 30 degrees during a spell of thunderstorms and all the signs are now that we could be set for another wet and wild heatwave this June.
“The records for both the hottest month and the hottest day are both well within the realms of possibility and weâve cut our odds accordingly.”
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