Warning for thunderstorms before sunshine could bring warmest day of 2024

Thursday could be the warmest day of the year so far after warnings for heavy rain and thunderstorms overnight across southern parts of England and Wales, the Met Office has said.

Two yellow weather warnings were issued for the UK, with heavy rain falling over parts of the country on Wednesday night.

Storms hit the South West and Wales, with a warning in place until 8am on Thursday, while a warning in south-east England has been extended to 10am on Thursday.

Marco Petagna, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said some places could see their warmest temperatures of the year on Thursday. This would come a day after Wednesday saw temperatures peak at their highest yet in 2024 at 22.1C.

He told the PA news agency: “After a night of storms, the rain will ease in the south of England for a while tomorrow. We could see the skies brightening up in a few places and it will be another warm day. Parts of the South East could even get to 24 degrees and beat today’s temperatures.

“But as the skies brighten and temperatures increase, this could spark a few more thundery showers in the afternoon, so it is likely to still be a bit unsettled and the forecast will be changeable over the next few days.”

The Met Office advised the storms might cause travel disruption and some flooding, leading to “difficult driving conditions and some road closures”.

Two buildings in Sussex were damaged by lightning strikes overnight, according to West Sussex Fire & Rescue.

A care home in Elmer was struck with damage to its roof while a university building in Chichester sustained damaged to its roof and power system.

The service said no one was injured from the strikes and occupants were relocated to safety while the damage was assessed.

There is also a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services, along with a small possibility of power cuts.

While southern parts of the country experienced heavy rain, areas in the North should stay dry and warm.

Looking ahead to the Bank Holiday weekend, Mr Petagna said the forecast showed a “very mixed picture”.

Most areas of the country are likely to experience some rain but temperatures will remain fairly warm, in the mid to late teens. There are likely to be showers across the country on Monday.

Wednesday was the warmest day of the year so far, as temperatures reached a peak of 22.1C in Santon Downham in Suffolk. Meanwhile, the temperature in Scotland reached 21.9C in Aultbea in the north-west Highlands.

However, while some areas of the UK experienced their warmest temperatures of the year, there were wide variations across the country.

Temperatures were over 10C lower in some coastal areas, such as in Weybourne, a town 70 kilometres north of Santon Downham, which recorded a maximum temperature of 13.6C. Meanwhile, temperatures in Inverbervie, a town on the north-east coast of Scotland, peaked at 9.9C.

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