Severe thunderstorms, flash floods hit western Europe


Severe thunderstorms have hit parts of the western Europe on June 23, 2016, flooding streets, homes, businesses, and disrupting public transport. 

In the UK, a red "immediate action" warnings are in place for areas of Essex and London. Around a month's rain was recorded there in just a few hours today.

A surge of emergency calls was reported by the London Fire Brigade starting 00:30 UTC. By 02:00 UTC, some 300 calls were made. This is about the same the brigade gets in a day. 

Call-outs included reports of vehicles trapped by water, flooded homes and businesses, and lightning strikes on property, Sky News reported. Flooded streets were reported across the capital, with Bexley getting nearly half of the average rainfall for June in just a single hour. The severe weather caused travel chaos on EU referendum polling day.

Several Tube stations across London – including Tooting Broadway, Lambeth North, Embankment, Borough and Canning Town – were closed due to flooding. The District Line was also hit by delays and a part closure between Parsons Green and Wimbledon early this morning. South West Trains warned disruption was causing delays of up to an hour on busy commuter routes into London, with problems also reported on Southeastern and Greater Anglia services. Blackwall Tunnel was also shut early this morning, threatening major delays for drivers heading in and out of London during the rush hour, the Evening Standard reported.

Numerous places saw large amounts of rain overnight, with South Farnborough, Hampshire, recording almost 46 mm (1.8 in) between 18:00 UTC on June 22 and 08:00 UTC on June 23.

Central London's St James's Park and Alice Holt Lodge, Hampshire, both received around 44 mm (1.7 inches) overnight, while a number of other places in Surrey, Hampshire, London and Essex have had more than 30 mm (1.2 inches).

UK's Met Office issued an amber "be prepared" warning of rain for part of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey effective until 05:00 UTC on Thursday, while a yellow warning covering the South East is in place until 05:00 UTC on Friday, June 24.

"If you draw a line from The Wash to the Isle of Portland everything east of that is in the firing line," forecaster Luke Miall said. "A band of showers is coming across the English Channel and moving north-eastwards, that will bring some heavy downpours and localized surface flooding. There's going to be a bit of hail in there too, so there's quite a lot going on." See: Flood warnings for England and Wales

Many roads and parts of highways were flooded causing early morning traffic jams around the Netherlands and in western Belgium.

In Netherlands' port city of Rotterdam, a 45-year-old man was found dead early Thursday, apparently electrocuted in his flooded cellar where Police officers also discovered an illegal cannabis nursery.

The Dutch and Belgian weather services warned of bad weather front hitting the western parts of their countries in the coming hours.

France, Belgium, and the Netherlands all sent out weather alerts, the Associated Press reports.

This round of severe weather is expected to last into the weekend.

UK – Weekend forecast

The following video was recorded on June 23 in Amstelveen, the Netherlands.

Featured image: Flood in Lewisham on June 23, 2016. Credit: London Fire Brigade

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