Amazing photos of extreme weather that's causing chaos

Britain is being hit by severe lightning, floods and tornadoes.

Tornadoes are nothing new in this country - Britain suffers more of them per square mile than any other country in the world though, thankfully, they are relatively small.

Lightning, twisters and floods bring chaos to Britain

20th June 2007
Daily Mail

Extreme weather conditions are once again battering Britain with torrential rain causing severe flooding in vast swathes of the South-East of England and the Midlands.

The gloomy outlook is set to continue, raising fears that the Glastonbury Festival (the world's largest greenfield rock festival), which starts in earnest on Friday, may turn into one big quagmire.

Lightning strikes dramatically over the Fawley Oil Refinery in Hampshire

A major clean-up operation is underway today in Kent after the county suffered two inches of torrential rain and high winds as a three hour thunderstorm wreaked havoc yesterday evening.

Emergency services received 400 calls in two hours from panicked residents in the worst hit areas of South and East Kent who suffered flooding and power cuts when the storm hit at around 7.30pm.

A spokeswoman said: "People were reporting flooding into their properties with some saying they were up to their knees in water.

"Folkestone, Margate and Canterbury were worst hit. It was a very busy night."

During the storm they confirmed one property in Broadstairs was struck by lightening and its roof burst into flames. No-one was injured in the fire.

Punters at Ascot had to shelter under umbrellas as rain spread to the racecourse.

Sheltering from the rain at Royal Ascot

In Cornwall a mini tornado was spotted spinning across the summer skies and was captured on camera by startled motorist David Rogers, 25, over the A30 in Lostwithiel.

Dark thunderclouds gather as a twister strikes in Lostwithiel, Cornwall

Mr Rogers watched in awe as the funnel-shaped wind tunnel sucked up tree branches and bushes sending their leaves showering through the air.

He said: "I looked over and thought 'what's that?'. It started spinning and I realised it was a tornado.

"The trees were spinning with their branches in the air. It was a bit scary and a real shock, but very exciting.

"I drove back the same way a while later and all the trees had been stripped bare, it must have been pretty powerful.

"I have always wanted to see a tornado, I was even thinking of going to America to do it, I can't believe it actually happened in Cornwall."

Met Office spokesman Barry Gromett confirmed that it was a tornado and said: "It is difficult to see whether this has actually touched down to the ground, but the potential is definitely there.

"This is still a long way from the really big ones seen in the States, though."

Several inches of water flood Portishead high street in Somerset

Terrified pensioners were also evacuated from an East Sussex nursing home that went up in flames during storms.

It is thought a lightning bolt hit the large home, setting the roof and part of the second floor on fire.

More than 30 fire crews rushed to Moorhurst Nursing Home in Westfield, near Hastings, just before 8pm last night to tackle the blaze.

A spokesman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said everyone was evacuated safely from the home. earthquake.

A shop in the city of Bristol is ablze after being struck by lightning

In Shropshire exceptionally heavy rain has shut down large sections of the historic steam railway in the Severn Valley.

Two-thirds of the Severn Valley Railway in Shropshire and Worcestershire were closed when two weeks' worth of rain fell in 45 minutes, causing landslides which blocked sections of track.

In some places, embankments were washed away completely, leaving the rails suspended in mid-air.

Severn Valley Railway's John Leach looks at the damage caused by overnight flash floods to rail lines outside the village of Highley, Shropshire

John Leach, the railway's marketing manager, said the impact of the flooding was not yet clear but said it was going to be days before they could reopen the line to Bridgnorth.

"We've had flooding before, but never anything on this scale. The noise of the rain last night was phenomenal," Mr Leach said.

"I live on top of a hill nearby and could see it all, there were three storms that came together, and I could see three separate forks of lightning hit the ground at once."

West Midlands Ambulance Service said its crews had reported floodwaters rising to the height of car doors in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area last night.

One ambulance crew in Worcestershire was unable to reach a man stranded in his home after finding that a bridge had been completely submerged.

Paramedic Andy Lightbody and his colleague Rachel Rose, who are based in Kidderminster, were also thwarted by a landslide as they tried to reach the man, whose house was thought to be in danger of collapse in Shrawley.

Mr Lightbody said: "We were travelling along the A451 to Astley, but it was flooded and we diverted down a B road to gain access.

"Unfortunately, we then encountered a landslide blocking the lane and had to reverse back.

"When we got as far as Glazen Bridge, the bridge itself was completely underwater, with one of the parapets broken off.

"We had to stop there and wait for an update from the fire and rescue service, who had managed to reach the stranded man on the other side of the river."

The crew were, however, able to reach a second patient, who had suffered lacerations to his feet while wading through floodwater after a brook burst its banks.

"Neither Rachel nor I have experienced such horrendous conditions before," Mr Lightbody added.

Shaken Bridge in Hawnby, North Yorkshire was badly damaged as freak weather caused the River Rye to burst its banks

In Somerset campers are already arriving at a boggy Glastonbury Festival site.

With the weather due to remain unsettled there will be fears of a repeat of the 2005 festival when rain battered the event, turning the site into a muddy swamp, which in turn caused hundreds of festival-goers to suffer from trenchfoot.

Will this year's Glastonbury Rock Festival revellers look like this muddy festival-goer in 2005?

Met Office forecaster Chris Almond said: "For the rest of the week it will be showery and unsettled and this will continue through the weekend."
Two winters ago it was thundering and there was lightning above the clouds that dumped a couple feet of snow that night kinda weird and only seen it once.

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