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A streak of lightning illuminates London’s Shard. Pic. Matthew Smith
Electric storms have swept through the UK, creating dramatic skyscapes worthy of a Hollywood film.
After a sunny start to the Bank Holiday weekend, with temperatures reaching 27C (80.6F), Saturday’s balmy evening eventually broke into a violent thunderstorm accompanied by heavy rain.
The UK was struck by lightning more than 60,000 times in 24 hours, according to the Met Office.
Temperatures overnight did not fall below 15C (59F), he said, adding: “For the end of May that’s a pretty hot and humid night, so everything was primed.
“We had some storms coming in from northern France and some building up in the Channel and they sort of spread out and have been working their way in.
“It looks like there just one huge area of thundery showers that worked across London just before midnight.”
London Fire Brigade said it received more than 500 weather-related calls, most of them due to flooding.
In Warwickshire, five properties were struck by lightning and in Dawlish, Devon, a phone box burst into flames after a telephone pole was also hit by lightning.
Flights from Stansted Airport were disrupted on Sunday after the fuelling system was damaged by a lightning strike.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution posted a photo of the storm above the Thames, lighting up the water close to their rescue station.
A dramatic shot of lightning illuminating the Shard in the capital was captured by data journalist Matthew Smith.
Nearly 1,000 properties were left without power in the Midlands following the storm and 17 flood alerts have been issued for parts of the Thames Valley.
Sky News weather presenter Jo Edwards said: “Heavy thundery showers will be a feature of the weather over the next few days, developing over southern counties and the south-west.
“Some places will face a deluge, with torrential downpours bringing significant rainfall. There’ll also be frequent thunder and lightning with the risk of some large hail.
“Overnight the thunderstorms will move northwards to reach northern England, the Midlands and East Anglia by the end of the night.”
There is a Met Office warning of heavy thunderstorms until 6am Monday, covering much of England and Wales.
With the muggy weather set to continue through the start of the week, bringing with it cumulonimbus clouds, thunderstorms could last until Wednesday.
Courtesy of Sky News
An abandoned car near Blackstone Edge in the Pennines
The severe weather has claimed several lives, with the Army drafted in to help hundreds of motorists stranded across the UK.
Drivers have reported getting stuck for 17 hours as snow and high winds continue to batter the UK.
More than 100 cars and lorries were trapped overnight on the A303 between Ilminster in Somerset, and Mere in Wiltshire.
One motorist said a gritter “slid sideways” and got stuck in the snow itself.
Avon and Somerset Police said about 40 people travelling from London had been stranded through the night. They included a baby, elderly and vulnerable people, and some requiring medication.
Thomas Hamilton said he left his home in London at 6pm and was heading to a friend’s farm when he got caught up, coming to a “standstill at the start of the A303 around midnight”.
He was only 10 miles from his destination when he got stuck.
Wiltshire Council has described it as a “major incident”, urging people not to travel in the area.
An overturned gritter lorry in Devon
On the M20 in Kent, a number of crashes have been reported after the fire service warned of “black ice” on the carriageways.
In Devon, a gritter overturned on the A379 near Shaldon. Devon County Council said that “fortunately”, no one had been harmed.
The M80 motorway near Glasgow after being cleared of traffic stranded overnight
The freezing weather has left several people dead and hundreds stranded amid closed roads and cancelled flights.
A seven-year-old girl died after a car slid off the road and hit a house in Cornwall on Thursday.
Widespread heavy snow and strong easterly winds are expected to bring “blizzard conditions” and “severe drifting” to affected areas. The Army has been drafted in to help stranded motorists.
An intrepid cyclist navigates his way through the snow outside Sterling Castle in Scotland
Nearly all train operators are warning of cancellations and disruption to services throughout Friday.
Flights at the majority of UK airports have also been hit by the severe weather, with Heathrow warning of a “consolidated flight schedule” and Gatwick confirming that “many flights are cancelled or delayed”.
Hundreds of schools have been forced to close, resulting in another snow day and a long weekend to thousands of children.
West Midlands Police dashcam
Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates warned there is “further snow to come, as well as a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain”.
He said: “Even parts of London and the South East are not immune to seeing more snow through the afternoon – not as much as yesterday, but still enough to cause further disruption.
“We are not out of the woods yet.”
Grounded and going nowhere!
The sub-zero cold snap and Storm Emma have combined to deadly effect.
On Thursday, a 75-year-old woman was found dead on a snow-covered street in Leeds; a 46-year-old man died in a collision on the A34, and a 60-year-old man died after being pulled from a lake in Welling.
On Tuesday, three people were killed in a car crash in Lincolnshire; one man died in a collision in Cambridgeshire and a homeless man was found dead in his tent near St Swithun’s Church in Retford.
Workers try to clear the runway at Aberdeen Airport
Military forces were called in to assist with a major incident in Hampshire after a build-up of traffic left motorists stranded on the A31.
The South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust put a call out for drivers of 4x4s and SUVs to meet at their Hampshire headquarters to help staff get to where they needed to go.
The Royal Air Force was drafted in to help Lincolnshire residents, with reports of some remote villages receiving up to 61cm (2ft) of snow.
Making the most of the amenities on the 1705 Waterloo to Weymouth service
Passengers on the 5.05pm service from London Waterloo to Weymouth found themselves stuck at Brockenhurst station after a broken down train ahead left them stationary on the tracks.
With “frozen conductor rails” blamed for the front train’s breakdown, about 50 passengers were left at a standstill until 3.30am. Staff reportedly gave out blankets and refreshments.
In Scotland – which saw the first of the snow when it hit on Thursday – hundreds of motorists spent hours trapped in cars on the M80 motorway near Glasgow.
Some remote areas of the Scottish Borders remain completely cut off.
Most of the Republic of Ireland has been placed under red alert after being hit by the worst snow in 65 years.
Residents have been warned to stay indoors, with the severe weather warning in place until at least 6pm on Friday.
Courtesy of Sky News
Photo: Papua New Guinea’s military is assisting with the evacuation effort. (Facebook: Samaritan Aviation)
There is now a significant Sulphur Dioxide gas being observed on Kadovar.
Visual observations from a Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) observer on a boat, indicates the whole island is still receiving significant ash fall.
In a situational update from RVO say the fracture running down the summit dome to the coast has apparently widened, with vigorous steaming occurring from it.
While there is currently no ground based monitoring, it is anticipated that seismometers will be deployed by Sunday.
RVO said that the evacuated population currently on Ruprup Island is to be moved to the mainland, due both the risk from eruption and the logistics of supplying them.
Courtesy of postcourier.com.pg
The Met Office have issued a warning for severe weather conditions today and tomorrow
CHOKING ‘radiation’ fog will smother Britain tonight prompting the Met Office to issue warnings for severe weather conditions.
Thick winter mists will engulf swathes of the nation into tomorrow afternoon with some places unlikely to clear through the day.
Poor visibility will spark tailbacks on roads and motorways while railway and air passengers have been warned to expect delays.
Light winds, foggy conditions and traffic emissions will lead to a smog build-up in some regions, experts say.
DEFRA (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) predicts moderate air pollution levels in some central regions tomorrow, Friday and into the weekend.
A spokesman said: “Isolated pockets of moderate air pollution are possible over central and western parts of the UK on Thursday, especially where light winds and foggy conditions allow the build up of locally emitted pollution, such as near busy roads.
“Isolated pockets of pollution are again possible on Friday and Saturday.”
Weather conditions today and through tonight will be ideal for the formation of thick and troublesome ‘radiation fog’, experts say.
Clear skies will cause ground temperatures to plummet allowing moisture in the air to condense into fog droplets over the next few hours.
Light winds will stop mists clearing leaving many parts of the country under a thick pea-soup through much of the day.
The Met Office said there will be a further risk of fog through the week with weather conditions expected to stay cool and settled.
Forecaster Helen Roberts said: “Mists will quickly develop tonight turning readily into fog, mostly across western areas.
“We have clear skies which will allow heat to radiate from the ground and moisture in the air from recent precipitation and light winds; these factors will lead to the development of radiation fog.
“This fog will become more extensive overnight and we are expecting frosts in the morning with temperatures expected to drop to below freezing.
“Fog will be quite stubborn to shift and could still be an issue into tomorrow afternoon, there are some places where it won’t clear all day.”
A Met Office severe weather warning covers a portion of western Britain through tonight until 11am tomorrow.
Chief forecaster Andy Page said it will thicken over the next few hours and warned to expect rush-hour travel problems.
Visibility could drop to 100 metres in some places bringing dangerous driving conditions and hindering flight take offs, he added.
He said: “Fog is expected to become increasingly widespread through Wednesday evening and overnight into Thursday.
“Slower journey times are possible and there is a chance of delays to flights.
“Fog will thin slowly later on Thursday morning, although some patches may persist into the afternoon in the west of the warning area.”
Regions most at risk will be London and the southeast; northwest England; southwest England Wales and the West Midlands.
Britain is wrapping up for another chilly night with temperatures expected to drop to freezing widely with lows of -2C (28.4F) or -3C (26.6F) in rural regions.
Tomorrow will be another cloudy and murky day across the country with more of the same forecast through the week.
Despite a switch to a more westerly airflow it will feel cold especially across the north where the odd flake of snow is possible, according to Exacta Weather’s James Madden.
He said: “The week will be stay on the cool to chilly side for many parts of the country and some flakes of light snow will pop up here and there among some fine drizzle.”
Currently we have ideal conditions for widespread fog across the country, particularly, for some southern areas, where it could linger for some lengthy periods from tonight.”
Radiation fog is the result of clear skies allowing heat to ‘radiate’ from the ground causing temperatures to drop rapidly and moisture suspended in the air to condense.
A Met Office spokesman said: “If there are clear skies, the heat radiates back into space leading to cooling at the earth’s surface.
“This results in a reduction of the air’s ability to hold moisture which allows water vapour to condense into tiny water droplets eventually leading to the formation of fog.
When temperatures drop low enough, ‘supercooled’ liquid droplets become suspended in the air and can freeze on surfaces, this is the cause of ‘freezing fog’.
WeatherOnline forecaster Simon Keeling added: “Further spells of drizzle here expected for the far northeast of Scotland tonight.
“Elsewhere it will be dry with clearer spells.
“Mist and fog patches will be forming as the night progresses and these will be freezing and dense in central and northern areas.”
Courtesy of express.co.uk