Rude awakening as 3,000 lightning strikes move across the UK

It seems thousands of people across southern Britain were woken up early this morning by loud claps of thunder, seemingly constant flashes of lightning and torrential rain.

It's reported there were 3,000 lightning strikes across the UK in just two hours.The storms were caused by hot air pushing up from the south.

The Shard surrounded by lightning Credit: @nibl83

This is an effect known as a Spanish plume. As the hot air hits cooler air from the west it accelerates and triggers thunderstorms.

London's police helicopter Credit: @MPSinthesky

Much of the lightning we saw last night was cloud to cloud rather than cloud to ground. This is because rather than being cumulonimbus (the traditional enormous storm clouds) the clouds were cumulus castellanus (mid level).

The storm approaching London Credit: @MPSinthesky

That is way in many cases the lightning arrived well before the heaviest of the rain.

We have more heavy thundery showers on their way overnight and tomorrow afternoon.

The Met Office has issued a Yellow Weather Warning for more storms with the potential for localised ground flooding.

Read more: Red ball of lightning destroys London roof

Get the latest ITV weather forecast here.