INTENSE thunderstorms have sparked flood alerts and bank holiday travel chaos with Stansted Airport coming to a virtual standstill.
Thousands of passengers have been left stranded after a lightning strike left the airport’s fuelling system temporarily unavailable.
Twitter/Thadie Passengers have been left stranded at Stansted Airport after lightening strikes led to fuelling problems
Dozens of planes at the airport in Essex were forced to remain grounded leading to scenes of chaos at the airport.
Passengers have reported delays of more than three hours, with many stuck waiting on aircraft with limited information.
Stansted arrivals have now been diverted to airports more than 100 miles away as the disruption continues.
The chaos comes after the UK was struck by more than 20,000 bolts of lightning overnight, as the “mother of all thunderstorms” rolled out across Southern England bringing with it torrential downpours.
Twitter/isntthatawful Hundreds of passengers are stuck in the terminal at Stansted as their flights are grounded
Twitter/Aprilpeake Many flights have been cancelled or delays as Stansted battles with a fuel problem
Twitter Passengers say they have been sat on the tarmac for more than three hours waiting to depart
Flooding and further lightning strikes over the coming 24 hours could see delays and cancellations on train and bus routes across the UK, with the chance of power outages in some parts.
Met Office yellow weather warnings remain in place today until at least 6am tomorrow, indicating heavy rain across the central and southern parts of England and all of Wales, with a possible danger to life.
Homes and business risk severe water damage from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail and strong winds.
WENN London was drenched last night after being hit with torrential downpours
WENN Heavy rain and electric storms struck Northolt in West London
@samueltwilkinson The electric storm lights up the night sky over the Shard skyscraper in London
Torrential rain at Kew Gardens, in south-west London, saw more than half an inch of rain fall in an hour, and the London Fire Brigade confirmed it has taken more than 500 weather-related called overnight, almost all for flooding.
A cluster of 17 flood alerts has been issued for parts of the Thames Valley, while West Midlands and Bedfordshire fire services warned motorists of the risks of driving on flood-hit roads.
The Met Office has warned that spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions, with some communities at risk of being cut off completely due to flooding.
Reuters Wembley’s iconic arch is struck by lightning as West London was struck by ‘the mother of all storms’
Andrew Lanxon Hoyle/@Batteryhq Lightning strikes over the the Suleymaniye Mosque in Dalston, East London
In Warwickshire, the fire service said five properties were struck by lightning in the early hours of Sunday, while in Dawlish, Devon a telephone box burst into flames after a BT pole was hit on Saturday evening.
Western Power Distribution said nearly 1,000 properties had been left without power across the Midlands, with the majority of outages down to lightning.
Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said that while temperatures were likely to remain in the high 20s, possibly reaching 30C tomorrow, there was a high risk of torrential rain across most of the UK today.
TowerRNLI Lightning illuminates the sky over the Southbank on the River Thames in London
Reuters Lightning is seen from a bedroom window as it strikes above a street in south London
Speaking to Sun Online, he said: Weather warnings are in place from Blackpool and the River Hunt, stretching southwards covering the central and southern parts of England and Wales.
“The worst of the rain will batter the country today, with coastal areas remaining wet tomorrow.
“Inland, it will get much drier and we are likely to see temperatures reach 29C or 30C on Bank Holiday Monday.
“It’s going to remain balmy until at least the first week of June, with temperatures remaining in the mid 20s.
Lynn Simmons The skies across London were lit up as the capital was stuck by an electric storm
Social media was flooded with images of the spectacular electric storm that lit up skies across the capital overnight.
Photos showed the iconic Shard building and Wembley Stadium’s famous arch directly struck by bolts of lightning.
BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker tweeted: “Mother of all #thunderstorms now over London. Oh boy! This UTTERLY INSANE. I’ve never seen a storm with such frequent lightning in my life I don’t think. Mostly sheet lightning and not too loud but flashes are spectacular.”
James Brewin captured the moment Big Ben and Westminster were illuminated by a flash of lightning, describing it as “London in daylight at midnight for a split second”.