Torrential Downpours to Hit Holiday Travel, warns Met Office

As many schools break up for the summer holidays the Met Office is warning that more serious torrential downpours are on the way.

The risk of extremely heavy rain, thunder and lightning is greatest in the central and eastern parts of England on Friday, where up to 100mm (four inches) could fall in a short period.

Other areas at risk include the South West and eastern parts of Wales, were there could be up to 50mm (two inches) of rain.

The Met Office has warned that such "significant amounts" of rain could cause dangerous driving conditions at the start of the first major getaway of the summer holidays.

The Met Office is working closely with the Highways Agency and Environment Agency to help warn motorists and residents about the potential for flooding.

Keith Groves, Head of Forecasting at the Met Office, said: "We are talking about a major rainfall event. When you get such heavy rainfall in such a short time then there is a greater risk of flooding. "

He said that areas such as Birmingham, the M5/M4 corridor and the Cotswolds faced the greatest risk of receiving the most rain, but warned that anywhere in England and Wales could see torrential downpours at some stage in the day.

"People should keep an eye on our forecasts," he said, advice backed up by the Highways Agency, which advised drivers to check the forecasts before setting off and whilst travelling.

The Highways Agency urged drivers to take extra care on the roads during the predicted heavy rainfall, reminding them that it can take more than double the distance to stop.

"Drivers are advised to use headlights and keep well back from the vehicle in front," it said.

Phil Rothwell, Environment Agency Head of Flood Risk Policy, said, "Flash flooding in recent days and weeks has been very sudden and has often occurred in areas where there were previously few flooding incidents in living memory.

"Therefore, everyone should stay fully aware of the weather situation. Where there is the danger of rivers rising people should check for flood warnings in their area."

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