Flash flooding and major incident as downpours drench UK

Heavy downpours have brought flash flooding across the UK and left residents trapped in their homes on the Isle of Man.

Thunderstorms swept across London, the south of England, Wales and the Midlands on Tuesday, with some areas hit by a week's rain in just an hour.

And forecasters warned that a day's respite from the rain on Wednesday will be shortlived as the remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo - the most powerful ever recorded in the far east Atlantic - track over the UK on Thursday and Friday.

Over the 12 hours from 8am on Tuesday, the Met Office said Pennerley in Shropshire had the highest rainfall total with 36.2mm (1.4in), with 25.6mm (1in) falling within one hour.

That part of the UK normally averages around 96mm (3.8in) in the whole of October.

The second highest total was at Coton in the Elms in Derbyshire, with 23.4mm (0.46in).

Tredegar in Gwent, Wales, received 22mm (0.8in), the Met Office said.

But a Met Office spokeswoman said the thundery downpours were so localised that it was likely higher totals fell in areas not covered by a weather station.

Reports of flash flooding included on the M42 motorway at Coleshill in Warwickshire.

Further north, train services continued to be affected after days of heavy rain and a major incident was declared on the Isle of Man after a river burst its banks in the village of Laxey, trapping people in houses and washing away cars.

A helicopter was brought in on standby to help people trapped close to the Laxey River in what one local called "horrendous conditions".

Police called on people not to travel on the island as flooding and a landslide affected roads and two schools were closed.

Some flights from Heathrow Airport were delayed on Tuesday evening due to the bad weather.

A spokeswoman said: "Poor weather conditions across London and the South East are limiting the number of aircraft able to take off and land safely at Heathrow each hour, resulting in some delays and a small number of flights being consolidated.

"We regret any disruption caused by this evening's weather and will be doing everything we can to ensure our passengers get away safely on their journeys as quickly as possible."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Thames Barrier closed for the second time this week to protect the capital from tidal flooding.

London felt the rain, too. Credit: PA

On the A41 near Brent Cross in north London, rush hour travellers were hit by delays caused by flooding and a collapsed man hole cover.

Fire crews in North Yorkshire rescued two male occupants and dog from a van that drove into a fast-flowing river, and firefighters in the West Midlands responded to three vehicles stranded in flood water in Birmingham in 20 minutes.

On social media, emergency services and travellers shared video and images of the impact of the heavy rain.

At Beaconsfield station at around 6pm, footage showed flood water streaming across a platform around passengers' feet.

During the day, flooding affected rail services between Chesterfield and Sheffield, while the line between Birmingham New Street and Leicester, Stansted Airport and Cambridge were also affected by heavy rain and a fallen tree.

Flooding on the railway between Dullingham and Cambridge was expected to disrupt Greater Anglia services until 10pm.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said the heavy downpours will die out on Tuesday night, when a ridge of high pressure will see plummeting temperatures with the potential for a grass frost in some northern areas.

But he said a day of fine weather on Wednesday will then give way to further wind and rain as what is left of Hurricane Lorenzo - currently threatening the Azores - lashes the UK from later on Thursday.

A Coastguard helicopter on Laxey football pitch on the Isle of Man. Credit: Julie Graham/Twitter/PA

At 10pm on Tuesday, there were 31 flood warnings and 150 flood alerts in force.

Some 148 flood alerts have been removed in the last 24 hours.

Northern Rail said the Maryport to Carlisle line was badly affected, with replacement bus services operating in some sections.

A flooded house. Credit: ITV News

It added that the line was blocked and later reopened between Hexham and Carlisle following a reported landslip at Wetherall.

There has also been flooding at Thackley, between Leeds and Carlisle.

Late on Tuesday, the rail operator said rail replacement buses had been withdrawn and services were being reinstated with some delays and cancellations as lines were cleared.