Britons battle flash floods, power cuts and travel chaos

Commuters are enduring travel chaos this morning after torrential rain and thunderstorms lashed parts of Britain overnight - with forecasters warning yet more is on the way.

Great Western Railway trains were running more slowly than usual after Network Rail imposed blanket speed restrictions on the line, with Didcot Parkway station in Oxfordshire under more than a foot of floodwater.

Passengers at the station were left to wade through the deep waters or be helped by firefighters, with travellers reporting raw sewage flowing from drains – and one commuter saying she had been given a piggy back.

Some 100 people were evacuated from the Old Fire Station arts centre in Oxford after water began coming through the roof, while homes were flooded in Herefordshire and lightning started a house fire in Colwall. 

The Met Office has a weather warning in place for rain across western England, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland and Wales today, alerting the public to up to 2.4in (60mm) of rain in just three hours. 

Didcot Parkway train station in Oxfordshire is flooded, leaving passengers to wade through water or be helped by firefighters

Didcot Parkway train station in Oxfordshire is flooded, leaving passengers to wade through water or be helped by firefighters

Travellers at Didcot reported raw sewage flowing from drains

One commuter said she had been given a piggy back at Didcot

Travellers at Didcot reported raw sewage flowing from drains, while one commuter said she had been given a piggy back

Forecasters have warned of scattered heavy showers and thunderstorms developing over the area today, with torrential rain, lightning and large hail also possible between 9am and 10pm today.

A further warning for tomorrow in Scotland and Northern Ireland between 11am and 9pm tells of further heavy showers and thunderstorms, with up to 2.8in (70mm) of rain in three hours, frequent lightning and large hail.

The Environment Agency has issued 59 flood alerts for southern England and the West Midlands - along with one more serious warning for the River Lambourn in Berkshire, warning local residents to take 'immediate action'.

Met Office meteorologist John West told how a 'lively' day was in store today, despite a bright start for some. He said: 'It will be a warm and humid day, with some decent spells of sunshine.

'But with the temperatures rising and an awful lot of moisture in the air, we'll see more heavy showers and thunderstorms returning by early afternoon.

'This will affect Northern Ireland, Scotland and western parts of England and Wales. With some torrential downpours, it is likely that we will see some localised flooding.' 

The Environment Agency has issued 59 flood alerts for southern England and the West Midlands - along with one more serious warning for the River Lambourn in Berkshire, warning local residents to take 'immediate action'

The Environment Agency has issued 59 flood alerts for southern England and the West Midlands - along with one more serious warning for the River Lambourn in Berkshire, warning local residents to take 'immediate action'

It comes after storms and heavy downpours caused problems in some parts of Britain yesterday afternoon and overnight.

Train passengers in the Midlands could find their journeys affected after lightning strikes damaged equipment between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton. Network Rail said disruption was expected until about 9am.

South-west parts of England were worst-affected overnight, with Gloucestershire County Council reporting multiple calls to the fire service over flash flooding.

Flights were also cancelled due to the severe weather conditions, with 48 easyJet services affected at Gatwick Airport. Ryanair cancelled a "small number" of flights, while others were delayed.

The Environment Agency has urged people to check their flood risk and warned people not to drive through flood water. 

Visitors at the Bath and West Show in Somerset head for cover as torrential rain hit the area yesterday

Visitors at the Bath and West Show in Somerset head for cover as torrential rain hit the area yesterday

People try to make the best of a rainy day in Bournemouth, Dorset, yesterday as the UK was hit by wet conditions

People try to make the best of a rainy day in Bournemouth, Dorset, yesterday as the UK was hit by wet conditions

A woman shelters under an umbrella while others use a poncho at the Bath and West Show in Somerset yesterday

A woman shelters under an umbrella while others use a poncho at the Bath and West Show in Somerset yesterday

Hail stones the 'size of golf balls' fell in Daventry, leaving one resident with £5,000 worth of damage to his Audi cars

Hail stones the 'size of golf balls' fell in Daventry, leaving one resident with £5,000 worth of damage to his Audi cars

Kate Marks, Environment Agency flood duty manager, said teams would work "24/7" to operate flood defences, clear blockages in rivers and streams and support partners at any incidents of surface water flooding.

"With heavy rain forecast during rush hour, drivers should stay up to date with the latest weather forecast and travel information

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