On May 29, massive thunderstorms caused flash flooding in areas of London. The storms dropped almost a month’s worth of rain on southeast England in just a few hours.
A representative of the city’s fire brigade told media outlets that the rescue service received over 100 flood-related calls due to the rain. Meanwhile, some railway lines were submerged, forcing the temporary cancelation of train service to certain parts of the city.
Gatwick Airport, located in the southern portion of London, also canceled a number of flights due to the weather.
Lightning from the storms was blamed for causing at least two fires in north and west London, and at least 30 homes experienced significant flooding. Four people also had to be rescued from their flooded cars in the east part of the city.
London wasn’t the only area to be negatively impacted by the storms. Kent, Maidstone, Gravesham and Swale were also hit hard, and the A249, M2 and M20 highways had to be closed due to heavy flooding.
According to the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, a man had to be rescued from his submerged car in Teynham. Another man also called for help after being trapped in his flooded home in Chatham.
A weather presenter from the BBC said that the most violent storms had likely passed, but more heavy rain was expected over the next few days.
Rescue services reminded the public to avoid driving on flooded roads and to be on the lookout for fallen trees.
Electrical storms light up UK skies on the night of May 28, 2018. There were about 15,000 lightning strikes as storms hit parts of Wales and Central and Southern England overnight. The MET has issued a yellow warning for rain through Wednesday although it may be extended. The Met reports there is a small “chance that homes and businesses could be flooded or struck by lightning causing damage to some buildings.”
Heavy rain and flash-flooding brings parts of London and Kent to a standstill. Cars were submerged and railway lines blocked in large swaths of Kent. Parts of London also hit by flash floods include Bexleyheath, Erith, Blackfriars and Stratford. Four people were rescued from cars in Stratford. About 30 houses were flooded up to 25 inches of water in Erith, south-east London. According to the BBC, two fires in north and west London, believed to have been caused by lightning, were among the numerous calls the fire service received.
A Met Office spokesperson said: “This is only the third time we have seen a storm like this in 10 years. The average rainfall for May is 57mm however some places, including Bexley have seen 19.5mm in just six hours.”
As global climate change continues, more severe weather like this is to be expected. More severe storms occur as the global average temperature rises as more water evaporates from the oceans which then falls back down as precipitation. It behooves humanity to get off crude oil as an energy source and change to greener, renewable energies as soon as possible to help prevent more severe catastrophes.
A major deluge of rain has caused extensive flash flooding in the southeast portion of London and the county of Kent. The rain came down fast and hard. In only about a one-hour time span, the city of London received as much rain as it normally receives during the entire month of May.
Large parts of the city of London were affected by the heavy torrents. Gatwick Airport was forced to cease operations for a time. In parts of southeast London and Kent, railway service was suspended and cancelled as water was covering the railway lines.
Motorists were also affected by the storms. The M2 motorway had sections that were completely submerged. Some cars were flooded as their drivers attempted to cross the flooded roadways. The A429 also experienced significant flooding. At one point in the afternoon, the police in London and Kent were advising drivers to stay home or at work and not attempt to drive unless it was absolutely necessary.
Residents in parts of London were bailing the water out of their flooded houses. At least 30 homes are completely uninhabitable due to the floodwaters in the home being at a level of over two feet. Several businesses in low-lying areas of southeast London were forced to close as they had significant levels of flooding.
The storms that hit the London area didn’t just bring a lot of rain. The lightning with the storms was intense. Several structures were set on fire by the lightning. The London Fire Services received a little over 100 calls related to lightning related fires.
The storms were brief and passed out of the area quickly. The waters are expected to recede quickly. However, for those whose homes experienced significant flooding, clean up will take some time.