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Flash floods hit parts of Dorset

Cars getting stuck on Winton High Street Credit: @Qikdude

Cars were seen floating down the street in the early hours of this morning as the south coast was battered by violent storms just days after the UK was cooked by sunshine on the hottest day of the year.

Exhausted firefighters worked all through the night to help people out of their homes as torrential rain and lightning storms led to major flooding.

Crews from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service were called to a number of flooded properties in the middle of the night in Bournemouth.

A spokesman for Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Crews have been out all over the county dealing with flooding after the storm, some crews travelling 40 miles from their home stations. We handled over 120 calls in the space of two hours with just four operators to hand."

Resident Melvin Lockey was walking home in West Howe, Bournemouth, in the storm at 1am when he witnessed the chaos.

The 32-year-old said: "I was walking down the street when all of a sudden I saw a car floating past me in the water. The streets in the area were just like rivers, the storm was so bad."

The flash floods erupted just three days after the UK faced one of the hottest days on record, with temperatures reaching highs of up to 36.7C. Ends

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Storms hit the south - Your pictures

Spectacular lightning lit up the night sky across much of the south last night as storms rolled in amid a prolonged heatwave.

Thunder and heavy downpours struck the south coast overnight.

The Met Office said the 34-hour period to 10am Thursday saw 19,525 lightning strikes across the UK.

On Wednesday, the highest temperature recorded was 36.7C (98.1F) at Heathrow, breaking the record for a July day, while many other places broke the 30C (86F) mark.

Lightning strike in Bearsted Credit: Gary Neave
The storm overlooking Bournemouth Pier Credit: Mark Pelleymounter
Lightning hits near Bournemouth Pier Credit: Mark Pelleymounter
Storms light up the sky in Uckfield Credit: Sean Inman

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Two men in prison escape

Mark Chatfield was jailed for burglary Credit: Sussex Police

Two men have absconded from Ford Prison in Sussex. The pair haven't been seen since Thursday morning (2 July).

Lee Fudge, 29, was jailed for life in 2007 for the robbery of a BP garage in Kent. He has links to Gravesend and Birchington in Kent.

Chatfield, 39, was jailed for four years for burglary in August 2014 after he broke into a home in Guildford, Surrey.

He has links to Surrey, in particular Guildford, Albury and Leatherhead, and to Farnborough in Hampshire.

We need the public's help to find both men so they can be returned to custody to serve the remainder of their sentences. If you see them do not approach them but instead call 999

– Detective Inspector Dave Grover
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