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One of the hottest days of the year came to a brisk end when an overnight thunderstorm struck Sussex.
Thousands of people were woken from their slumber in the early hours of friday morning when the storm approached the coast from the English Channel.
A picture from a Worthing resident appears to show Worthing Pier being struck by a bright flash of lightning – although West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it was not hit.
Elsewhere, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said a property in Mile Oak Road, Portslade, was hit.
The strike caused significant damage to the property’s roof, which caught fire. Fire crews were called out at 1.50am to put out the blaze.
It appears the storm wasn’t just confined to Sussex. Pictures of spectacular fork lightning have been captured in the likes of Surrey, Essex and Winchester.
There is a risk of more to come as the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for the whole of the county tomorrow.
A spokesman said: “Areas of heavy, thundery showers will develop on Friday night before moving during Saturday.
“The location of these is uncertain but where they do form some torrential downpours are possible with frequent lightning, large hail and locally strong gusts.”
Foomandoonian on YouTube took this footage over Brighton and Hove.
Dominic Johnson sent this movie of the West Pier illuminated in the storm.
Twitter user Armand1964 sent this picture of Whitehawk.
Alex Lawrence took this creative snap at Brighton bandstand
Met Office and Newcastle University study is first to draw direct link between climate change and rise in summer downpours.
Flood damage in Boscastle, Cornwall, in 2004. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images
Flash flooding in summer is likely to become much more frequent across the UK as a result of climate change, with potentially devastating results in vulnerable areas, according to new research.
The study, published in the peer-review journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to draw a direct link between climate change and an increase in summer downpours.
The research, a result of a collaboration between the Met Office and Newcastle University, used climate change computer models and standard weather prediction models of the type used for short-term weather forecasts. It found that summers would be drier overall, but punctuated by more extreme downpours.
These can have a much worse effect than the steady rainfall typical of winter, because the dry land is less capable of absorbing water, and when too much falls in a short period it runs off, causing flash floods of the type that struck Boscastle in 2004, one of the worst examples of sudden localised flooding in recent years.
Whether any given area is subject to flash flooding will depend heavily on its topography, such as the proximity of uplands and rivers, but vulnerable areas are likely to experience far more incidents than they did in the past.
It is not possible to say exactly how many more floods are likely, but the researchers said instances of particularly heavy summer rainfall – defined as more than 28mm in an hour – would be about five times more probable.
Elizabeth Kendon of the Met Office, the lead author of the study, said that the research was groundbreaking in using a high-resolution weather forecasting model to translate the likely effects of climate change into a detailed prediction of future UK summer weather.
“Until now, we haven’t been able to do it in this way,” she said. “This should help people to understand what is likely to happen in the summer in future. It’s very important that we’ve detected this signal for heavier downpours in the UK. It’s now for policymakers to decide what to do about it.”
Some of the worst results could still be a few decades away, but the effects are already being felt and are likely to grow more severe, according to the models. But Kendon said more accurate predictions would depend on more scientific research being undertaken.
Summer rainfall is different to that typical of winter, when long-lasting steady bouts of heavy rain are common. These can cause their own flooding problems, as seen early this year when heavy rain caused widespread devastation in the UK with thousands of people forced to flee their homes.
Climate models suggest heavier winter rainfall for the UK. Summer downpours, such as those seen in 2012 when heavy rainfall followed a long period of drought, with disastrous results, are harder to predict but can take a greater toll as they are more sudden, and crops are ruined and tourism disrupted.
Kendon said: “It’s the hourly rainfall rates that you look at in summer.” The rain tends to fall in shorter but more intense bursts, caused by convective storms, but this has been difficult for climate models to simulate, because they lack the ability to home in on such brief events. It took the Met Office supercomputer, one of the most powerful in the world, nine months to run the necessary simulations.
Editors Note: This will either push insurance premiums through the roof or else make it impossible to get any kind of insurance cover for your property.
Flooding is predicted for parts of England as heavy rain persists. Photograph: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
Heavy rain across the east of England could cause flooding over the coming days, forecasters have warned.
The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning of rain for the region, predicting localised flooding that could cause disruption to travel.
The wet weather would persist until Wednesday night, the Met said, with up to 70mm (2.76in) of rain expected in worst-hit areas including parts of Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire and the Humber.
The Environment Agency (EA) warned of a flood risk in the east, mainly from surface water and low-lying rivers.
It said: “There may be some flooding of low-lying land and roads, some disruption to travel and possibly flooding to individual properties.”
Meteo Group forecaster Gareth Harvey said: “An area of prolonged rain is moving up over the eastern region and it’s not going to shift until Wednesday night.
“The rain is not exclusive to the east region but that’s where the persistent and largest rainfall totals of between 50 and 70mm will be.
“Pretty much the whole of Great Britain will see rain at some point over the next 48 hours.
“This means there could be some localised flooding.”
The EA has issued 10 low-level flood alerts in the south-east and the Midlands, mainly warning of groundwater flooding close to rivers.
THE weather this weekend is set to be the best so far this year and hotter than parts of Spain, Italy and Greece.
As temperatures on Saturday are expected to soar to 24 degrees, they could top Ibiza, where 21 degrees is predicted, or Rhodes in Greece where the barometer might not rise above 22 degrees. Naples, Italy, is set for temperatures of only 19 degrees.
A spokesman for The Met Office said: “We are looking to see some of the warmest weather this year at the weekend, with temperatures in parts of Sussex hitting 24 degrees.
“Brighton is likely to fall a bit shy of that. But we are looking at something in the low 20s.”
Business owners have predicted the heat wave will bring sun-seekers flocking to the city.
David Sewell, owner of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe and chairman of the North Laine Trading Association, said: “Good weather is everything for an open air business like the cafe and we are very much looking forward to this weekend.
“When the Met start making this kind of forecast, people from London, Croydon and Crawley make plans to come down to the coast rather than leave it to decide on the day.
“That’s when the town gets packed and Brighton really buzzes.” (more…)