Warning of thunderstorms after thousands of lightning strikes across the UK

More warnings of thunderstorms and flooding have been issued after thousands of lightning strikes swept across the country overnight, causing travel delays and striking a care home.

The Met Office warned of thunderstorms over a large part of the Midlands, East Anglia and eastern Wales on Thursday from noon to midnight, which could cause further travel delays and flooding.

A huge rolling storm battered the south of England and South Wales, with a warning in place until 8am on Thursday, while a warning in south-east England was extended to 10am.

But Thursday was the warmest day of the year for all four home nations, the Met Office said.

A temperature of 23.4C was recorded in Santon Downham in Suffolk, beating the previous high of 22.1C from Wednesday.

Meanwhile the mercury hit 22.1C in Kinlochewe and Achnagart, beating Wednesday’s high of 21.9C in Aultbea.

In Wales, a high of 22.8C was felt in Hawarden, Flintshire, while the temperature hit 20.3C in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

The Met Office recorded 4,840 lightning strikes across France and southern Britain overnight.

It said “plenty” of heavy rain and thunderstorms trampled its way across southern England and Wales on Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday morning.

Two buildings in Sussex were damaged by lightning strikes, according to West Sussex Fire & Rescue.

A care home in Elmer was struck with damage to its roof while a university building in Chichester sustained damage to its roof and power system.

WEATHER Thunderstorms
(PA Graphics)

The service said no one was injured from the strikes and occupants were relocated to safety while the damage was assessed.

Dylan Reynolds, 56, a property manager, heard thunder in the early hours of the morning and said his lack of sleep is not “ideal” as he needed to vote in the local elections on Thursday morning before heading to work.

Mr Reynolds, from Bow, east London, told the PA news agency: “There was thunder and frequent lightning through the early hours, then at 5.30am the storm broke overhead with an enormous crack and epic rain.

“I don’t imagine many people will have had much sleep, which isn’t ideal as I need to go vote before work.”

Mike Hall, 53, a management consultant from Winchester, Hampshire, told PA he was awoken at night to see a “reasonable-sized” electrical storm.

He said: “It was the middle of the night, and I heard the first rumbles of thunder, so I got up to watch the storm coming closer.

“It was a reasonable-sized electrical storm, pretty fun to watch at half three in the morning. The storm passed right by the city, lots of loud cracks of thunder right after the lightning lit the sky up. It was really as bright as the video shows it to be.”

Marco Petagna, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said some places could see their warmest temperatures of the year on Thursday. This would come a day after Wednesday saw temperatures peak at their highest yet in 2024 at 22.1C.

He told PA: “After a night of storms, the rain will ease in the south of England for a while.

“We could see the skies brightening up in a few places and it will be another warm day. Parts of the South East could even get to 24 degrees and beat today’s temperatures.”

Lightning seen in the skies over Bow, east London
Picture taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @DylanAtLarge of lightning seen in the skies over Bow, east London (Dylan Reynolds/PA)

Looking ahead to the bank holiday weekend, Mr Petagna added that the forecast showed a “very mixed picture”.

Most areas of the country are likely to experience some rain but temperatures will remain fairly warm, in the mid to late teens. There are likely to be showers across the country on Monday.

Wednesday was the warmest day of the year so far, as temperatures reached a peak of 22.1C in Santon Downham in Suffolk. Meanwhile, the temperature in Scotland reached 21.9C in Aultbea in the north-west Highlands.

However, while some areas of the UK experienced their warmest temperatures of the year, there were wide variations across the country.

Temperatures were around 10C lower in some coastal areas, such as in Weybourne, a town 70 kilometres north of Santon Downham, which recorded a maximum temperature of 13.6C. Meanwhile, temperatures in Inverbervie, a town on the north-east coast of Scotland, peaked at 9.9C.