Thunder and lightning light up the West Country in spectacular storm

The sky above Yeovil is lit up by a spectacular lightning storm. Credit: Sam Maynard

Thousands of lightning strikes and up to 10mm of rain fell across the West Country in just a few minutes overnight, 23-24 July 2019.

Last night saw a break down of Tuesday's heat and humidity in the form of a large area of thundery rain. It arrived across Devon and Cornwall around 10pm and was clear of Gloucestershire by 4am on Wednesday.

During the thunderstorm there was an incredible display of lightning with several flashes captured by many of you.

At its peak the number of strikes was in excess of 10,000 an hour, with a flash almost every second.


Number of lightning strikes per hour at the height of the storm

The lightning itself was interesting because it was almost completely contained within the clouds. Lightning tends to jump between clouds or from the cloud to the ground. Staying within the cloud gave an eerie look to the sky and also meant that the sound of the thunder was quieter and damped, instead of a more typical crack and rumble.

This shot over Devon shows the lightning hidden inside the clouds. Credit: Angie Thompson

Kellie Ware filmed the thunderstorm in slow motion and was able to capture a stunning display over Bristol.


of rain fell in just a few minutes

The rainfall was short-lived but intense and loud, with 5 to 10mm falling in just a few minutes.

The largest totals were recorded in Plymouth and Little Rissington, Gloucestershire.

It seemed as though the storm was over as soon as it started, leaving things much quieter by morning.

Many of you were ready with your smartphones and cameras to capture the show as it happened. Although mostly the lightning was hidden in the clouds, you managed to catch a 'striking' number of lightning bolts.

  • A West Country gallery of Tuesday night's thunderstorm

Lightning bolt over power cables in Bere Alston, West Devon. Credit: John Phillips
This shot of the lightning over Yeovil in Somerset was certainly atmospheric. Credit: Sam Maynard
The night sky was lit up by this flash over Larkhall in Bath. Credit: Riley Griffin
Angie Thompson from Devon said the storm was like a laser show. Credit: Angie Thompson
Fi wisely stayed undercover when she took this photo in Tavistock. Credit: Fi Elizabeth
Bolt from the blue in North Petherton, Somerset. Credit: Kalz Smith
You can spot three lightning flashes at once in this shot over Bristol. Credit: Lilly Leigh
Luckily this tree in Bristol wasn't harmed. Credit: Lauren Tucker
This was taken from Shaun Croucher's video of the storm over Westbury in Wiltshire. Credit: Shaun Croucher
This wins the prize for the most branched lightning - taken over Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. Credit: Skip Cole

We've got a couple more days of heat and humidity to come, but from Friday we'll see cooler air arriving from the west, which should make things feel much more comfortable as we head into the weekend.