Monday, 3 Oct 2022

Heatwave to clash with severe storms next week sparking fears of major flooding

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms across much of the UK next week.

The alert covers huge swathes of central and western England, as well as the whole of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It came as the amber heat warning that had been in place for much of the south was extended from Sunday evening to next Tuesday.

Experts have warned of an increased risk of flash flooding after the prolonged heatwave left the ground extremely dry, meaning it is less able to soak up water. 

Forecasters had warned they could hit northern parts of the country next week.

Paul Davies, the Met Office’s chief meteorologist, told the BBC the rain is unlikely to prove any kind of relief to the searing heat.

He said: ‘It may be the wrong type of rain because it falls very fast and very hard.

‘When it comes against the hard ground then the water flows very fast, taking debris and causing flash flooding, whereas other areas may see very little at all.’

A university professor has also warned that people should ‘be careful’ about wishing for heavy rain to cool down temperatures.

Rob Thompson, who is part of the University of Reading’s meteorology department, posted a video of an experiment on Twitter which used three glasses of water on different grass surfaces to demonstrate what happens when it rains after a drought.

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In the first experiment, a glass of water is put on top of wet grass and rapidly soaks into the ground, with the second experiment highlighting that water soaks into grass during a normal summer at a slower pace.

In the final experiment, the water is placed on to what appears to be dry grass and does not seem to budge, highlighting the potential for flash floods to occur if heavy rain follows a heatwave.

He said: ‘Experience around the world has shown what can happen when heavy rain follows a very dry and hot period that has baked the soil hard.

‘The water can’t soak in easily, most of it just runs straight off the surface, which can quickly turn into flash floods.

‘If you’re praying for rain, you should pray for two days of drizzle, as dreadful as that sounds.’

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