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Monday, May 9, 2011

First the sunshine, now the showers: Britain lashed by thunderstorms...


Calm before the storm: A cyclist in Cornwall, just hours before the heavens opened

It was always too much to hope that the heatwave, blue skies and sunshine would last. And this weekend the fine weather made sure it went out with a bang – and a flash.

Just hours after this cyclist leisurely pedalled her way through a serene carpet of bluebells in Cornwall, the skies erupted.

In Poole, Dorset, a bolt of lightning was photographed as it streaked across the night sky.

And while the heavens opened – around an inch of rain fell across other parts of the country – the Met Office received calls from weather watchers who reported that conditions had created a rare ‘roll cloud’.

Striking image: A flash of lightning tears across the sky over Poole marina in Dorset at 11pm

The low-level cloud makes for a striking sight, forming into a horizontal tube across the sky that appears to be completely detached from the higher level clouds.

The downpours across the UK followed a week of wildfires, which had accompanied the unseasonably hot and dry conditions.

The wet weather came on the back of a ‘Spanish plume’ – a pulse of warm, moist air which moves its way north from Iberia, across France and into the UK.

Up to an inch of rain fell in Shap, Cumbria, with around three-quarters of an inch in Yeovilton, Somerset, and Benson, Oxfordshire. At RAF Valley, in Anglesey, 1.04in (26.4mm) fell.

Flash flooding hit properties across south Somerset in Chard, Crewkerne and Castle Cary.

‘It’s been a fascinating weekend,’ said Met Office forecaster Michael Lawrence.

‘It was like two totally different days, all wrapped up into just a few hours. First the sunshine and the humidity, then the thunderstorms and heavy rain. The rain has now made way for much fresher conditions across the country and that’s how it’s going to stay for the rest of this week.

‘It’s going to get cooler now, both by day and night, with sunshine and showers.
‘The focus of the showers will, however, shift towards the South-West, with the South-East remaining dry and brightest.

Water change in the weather: On the M27 at Southampton, Hampshire, drivers had headlights on and motorway warnings signs were displaying 'SURFACE WATER, SLOW DOWN' messages as torrential downpours continued

Following the prolonged spell of spring sunshine, a torrential downpour catches shoppers in Newcastle off guard this afternoon

source: dailymail


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