Stormy Saturday brings threat of floods and power cuts
Thunderstorms are set to strike much of the UK on Saturday, forecasters have warned.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for heavy showers and thunder which could cause flooding, power cuts and travel disruption in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The warning covers large expanses of the three nations, with the exception of some coastal areas, and lasts from midday until 10pm on Saturday.
This follows unsettled summer weather which has persisted across the UK throughout August.
Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said the City of London has had 117% of its usual August rainfall already, with 60mm (2.4in) of rain falling on the capital up to August 17 compared with 51mm (2in) usually seen over the entire month.
Northern Ireland has had 90mm (3.5in) of rain – 90% of its 97mm (3.8in) average for the month.
Mr Partridge predicted that up to 40mm (1.6in) of rain could hit parts of Northern Ireland and south-west England over 24 hours on Saturday, and the same amount in the northern Pennines on Sunday.
Heavy rain and hail has already caused “significant problems” for harvests, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).
A spokesperson for the union said this year’s harvest was delayed due to cold spring temperatures, but its too early to say how much profits will be impacted and whether consumers could see a rise in food prices.
They said: “The localised heavy rain and hail has caused significant problems in certain areas.
“It’s a mixed picture because for many areas they just haven’t had many clear dry days in a row to harvest, so things have been a bit ‘stop-start’ with harvesting.
“Where they have been harvesting, grain has often had to be dried because the better weather hasn’t lasted long enough to get moisture levels down to where they need to be.
“The problems will grow if the unsettled weather continues because it will start to impact on the quality of the grain if it goes on too long, especially for crops like milling wheat.”