Parts of the UK have been struck by heavy showers and thunderstorms on the country’s hottest day of the year so far.
The Met Office had issued amber thunderstorm warnings for parts of south-eastern and central England between 4pm and 7pm on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday evening, as much as 60mm of rain had fallen in just a few hours in areas affected by the amber thunderstorm warning.
Water had been visible on roads with drivers warned of difficult conditions due to spray, while as much as two inches of hail fell in the worst affected areas.
Joseph Petrassi, 22, filmed heavy rain and hail buffeting his garden in Basildon, Essex.
(They’re) very scary conditions… first time I’ve known bad hailstorms like this in my area,” Mr Petrassi, a guitarist and production assistant, told PA.
“Luckily no damage at all apart from some unfortunate plants.”
Other social media users uploaded photos of large pieces of hail in their gardens, while others shared videos of heavy rainfall.
Forecasters warned of further water spray, sudden flooding and lightning strikes, which could lead to power cuts, damage to buildings and delays to public transport until midnight.
A yellow thunderstorm warning remains in place until midnight.
It came as the UK recorded its hottest day of the year so far, after the temperature reached 32.2C (89.96F) at Heathrow Airport in west London on Tuesday afternoon.
The previous high for the year was 31.6C (88.88F), which was also recorded at Heathrow on Sunday.
An amber extreme heat warning is also set to last until Friday, with the mercury expected to climb as high as 33C (91.4F) in parts of the country.
The Met Office said the recent spell of hot weather has drawn in moist air to eastern parts of the country, which is causing the downpours.
Marco Petagna, a Met Office forecaster, told the PA news agency: “We had an amber warning out for large areas of the south-east of England, covering south London down to Kent and Essex.
“In just a short period of time, it’s possible that up to 60mm could have fallen, with rain on the roads making conditions more difficult for drivers.
“There are more thunderstorm warnings across large swathes of England up until midnight tonight, though the heavier showers should slowly fade away before returning on Wednesday- though they will be rather isolated.”
Thunderstorms and rain also hit parts of south-eastern England (Hannah Carre/PA)
The Environment Agency issued 17 flood alerts on Tuesday – meaning flooding is possible – in parts of London, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
It came as businesses such as pubs and restaurants in Wales closed due to red hot temperatures.
The Met Office has issued an amber extreme heat warning for parts of Wales, all of south-west England and parts of southern and central England over the next few days.
Public Health England has extended its heat-health warning, which warns people to take measures to stay cool and look out for vulnerable people, until Friday.
Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and extreme because of climate change driven by human activity, with scientific analysis finding events such as 2019’s record heat in the UK and Europe and the devastating heatwave in Canada and the US in recent weeks were made much more likely and more severe by global warming.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since pre-industrial times and temperatures will continue to rise, causing greater climate impacts, without urgent and significant global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.