Thunderstorm warning for Tuesday into Wednesday

Showers, locally torrential with thunderstorms, are expected late on Tuesday and into Wednesday which could lead to difficult driving conditions, disruption to transport, power outages, localised surface water and river flooding.

Warnings Issued (today):

  • Yellow THUNDERSTORM Warning (Very Low Likelihood of Medium Impacts) valid 1800 on Tuesday 18th June to 2100 on Wednesday 19th June 2019.

Today / Tomorrow:

Many places will start dry, although rather cloudy, on Tuesday but showers or outbreaks of rain are expected to develop quickly during the morning and move north.  There is the chance of an isolated thunderstorm developing across southeast England during the afternoon but during the evening more widespread showers and thunderstorms will develop and spread north, merging at times into longer spells of rain.  The showers, and rain, could be torrential in places and accompanied by frequent lightning, hail and strong, gusty winds.  We could see 15-30 mm of rain quite widely with some locations seeing up to 50 mm.  Isolated locations could see 20-30 mm in just an hour or so.  During Wednesday the showers will gradually clear to the east with fresher, drier conditions spreading from the west by the evening.

The Met Office have issued a Yellow THUNDERSTORM Warning (Very Low Likelihood of Medium Impacts) to cover the impacts from the, potentially torrential, showers and thunderstorms.  The impacts could include difficult driving conditions, disruption to transport, flooding or damage to homes and businesses as well as power cuts.  The Flood Guidance Statement is also Yellow highlighting the risk of surface water flooding.

Warnings can be found on Hazard Manager, the Met Office App and on the Met Office website at

Call 999 if your house is flooding or there is an immediate risk or danger to life.

Kent County Council’s highways team are working closely with the EA and district councils to respond to incidents of flooding in localised areas of north west Kent.

Our district teams have attended all the reported property flooding sites and site where road have been closed due to flooding or localised landslides. We will continue to monitor these sites throughout the current period of mixed weather.

We have identified a number of sites where sandbags may offer some local protection should further flooding occur and are currently installing these.

We have arranged for gullys at the highest risk sites to be cleansed within the next 24 hours to clear the system of any debris which may have accumulated during the initial flooding. Lower risk sites are likely to be cleansed in the next seven days.

Click here to find flood advice. Call 999 if your house is flooding or there is an immediate risk or danger to life.

For more information visit the Environment Agency links below:

If you have flood damaged furniture or household goods, contact your insurance company before disposing of them as your insurers may be able to provide skips to remove flood damaged items.

On the roads.

Heavy rain

  • Turn your headlights on – the Highway Code says you must use them when visibility is seriously reduced (less than 100m).
  • Use fog lights if you like, but switch them off when visibility improves.
  • Leave twice as much space between you and the car in front – it takes longer to stop in the wet.
  • If your steering feels light due to aquaplaning, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
  • If you break down don’t prop the bonnet open while you wait. Rain-soaked electrics can make it harder to start the engine.

Floods and standing water

  • Try to avoid standing water if you can.
  • Don’t drive into flood water that’s moving or more than 10cm (4 inches) deep.Let approaching cars pass first.
  • Drive slowly and steadily so you don’t make a bow wave.
  • Test your brakes as soon as you can afterwards.
  • Fast-moving water is very powerful – take care or your car could be swept away.

If you do get stuck in flood water, it’s usually best to wait in the car and call for help rather than try to get out.

Why slow down?

Driving fast through water is dangerous, inconsiderate and can end up being very expensive.

Your tyres can lose contact with the road, causing you to lose steering control – called aquaplaning. If you feel it happening, hold the steering lightly and lift off to slow down gently until your tyres grip again.

At anything above a slow crawl you’ll throw water onto pavements, soaking pedestrians or cyclists. You could be fined and get points on your licence for this.

It only takes an egg cupful of water to be sucked into your engine to wreck it, and on many cars the engine’s air intake is low down at the front.

What to watch out for

  • Look out for slip and trip hazards like kerbs under the water.
  • Manhole covers can get lifted and moved.
  • Water levels can change quickly.
  • Assume that flood water is contaminated:

What to expect from today’s weather warning

  • Flooding of homes and businesses could happen quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds.
  • Fast flowing or deep floodwater is possible, causing a danger to life.
  • Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services.
  • Spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures.
  • Some communities might become cut off if roads flood.
  • Power cuts might occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost.

Take care when travelling in heavy rain, wind and thunderstorms.

Driving in storms, rain and high winds

  • Even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen. A good rule of thumb is ‘if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down’.
  • If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears.
  • If you can, choose main roads, where you are less likely to be exposed to fallen branches and debris and flooding.
  • Use dipped headlights if visibility is seriously reduced.
  • Gusts of wind can unsettle vehicles – grip your steering wheel firmly with both hands. This is particularly important when planning to overtake.
  • Keep an eye out for gaps between trees, buildings or bridges over a river or railway – these are some of the places you are more likely to be exposed to side winds. Ensure that you maintain enough room either side of your vehicle so you can account for it being blown sideways.
  • Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front.
  • Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared.

What to do when the road is flooded

  • On flooded roads, think before driving through deep water; don’t stop in standing water, and drive through the highest section of the road slowly. If there is any doubt don’t enter it.
  • Once you have managed to drive through check your brakes and dry them out as quickly as possible – a light touch of the brakes whilst still moving should do the trick.
  • RAC offers more in-depth advice about driving through water and floods.
  • Keep an eye out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians
  • Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.

Learn how to protect yourself in a thunderstorm.

There are many myths surrounding lightning – such as lightning never strikes the same place twice or it always strikes the tallest object. Both are false, as lightning strikes the best conductor on the ground – whether it has been struck before or not.

Make sure you know what to do

Thunderstorms can occur at any time of the year, but it is during the summer months when thunderstorms in the UK are most likely to produce large hail, gusty winds and torrential downpours that can cause disruption to transport networks and damage property.

One of the most notable aspects of thunderstorms can be the localised nature of the impacts they could bring. This, in particular, can be the case with rainfall amounts, with big differences in amounts that fall from one place to another and over a very short distance. This can make driving conditions very hazardous. Other hazards include hail, decreased visibility, sudden gusty winds, standing water and of course lightning.

Before the thunderstorm

  • Unplug all non-essential appliances, including the television, as lightning can cause power surges.
  • Seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder, you are already within range of where the next ground flash may occur, lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the centre of a storm.

During the thunderstorm

  • Avoid using the phone – telephone lines can conduct electricity
  • Avoid using taps and sinks – metal pipes can conduct electricity
  • If outside avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects
  • Avoid activities such as golf, rod fishing or boating on a lake
  • Be aware of metal objects that can conduct or attract lightning, including golf clubs, golf buggies, fishing rods, umbrellas, motorbikes, bicycles, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs, wire fencing and rails. If you are in a tent, try to stay away from the metal poles
  • If you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and with head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, do not lie down on the ground
  • If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately

After the thunderstorm

  • Avoid downed power lines or broken cables
  • If someone is struck by lightning, they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart, so check if they have a pulse.
  • Driving in a thunderstorm
  • If you are caught out in thunder and lightning it is advised that you wind up the windows and stay inside your car. This is because in the vast majority of cars with a metal roof and frame, the frame will act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers inside and on to the ground.
  • Soft-top convertibles, with their fabric roofs, are the most at risk and could catch fire if struck by lightning
  • Be aware that current can travel through other parts of many modern cars, including GPS and radio systems. Cars with metal interior handles, foot pedals and steering wheels can also carry current
  • Cars can be damaged both internally and externally by lightning strikes

Thunderstorms can also bring a risk of sudden gusty winds, those most at risk would include cyclists, motorcyclists and high sided vehicles.

Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.

Keep your speed down, lowering your speed will lower the distance you travel when buffeted around by the wind.

Hail storms can be extremely dangerous to drive in reducing your ability to see and be seen, as well as causing damage to your vehicle. If hail is severe, stop and pull over to a safe place and remain inside the vehicle

Our Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS) may be able to help you if you are having serious difficulties managing your income due to a crisis or if you are facing exceptional pressures because of an emergency.

We offer our help for a short time only if you have no other means of support.

Except in exceptional circumstances, we can only offer help 3 times in a rolling 12 month period, and we will not help for the same reason more than once.

Wherever possible we want to help you stay in (or move back into) your local community.

If you have suffered flooding in your home, this can be a very upsetting and stressful period. Community mental health support services Live Well Kent are available to help you improve your mental and physical health and wellbeing. For more information go to

People living through a floodFrontline respondersFlooding and health surveillance


Thunderstorm warning for Tuesday into Wednesday was last modified: June 18th, 2019 by Thom Morris