Downpours set to return tonight

Reader Liam Mark Belcher sent this stunning shot of lightning to the Echo's Facebook page.
Reader Liam Mark Belcher sent this stunning shot of lightning to the Echo's Facebook page.
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The torrential rainfall which hit the North East is set to return this evening, say forecasters.

Flash floods, heavy thunderstorms and torrential rain battered parts of Britain yesterday and last night as soaring temperatures triggered extreme weather.

Another great picture sent to the Echo's Facebook page by reader Liam Mark Belcher

Another great picture sent to the Echo's Facebook page by reader Liam Mark Belcher

A “Spanish Plume” bringing hot unstable air up from France pushed the mercury into the 30s Celsius before giving way to downpours, with more than two centimetres of rain in some areas.

Temperatures hit 30.7°C in London and in the village of Bramham in West Yorkshire, 21.6mm of rain fell in an hour.

The Met Office has issued yellow “be aware” warnings for rain and isolated thunderstorms over the Midlands and parts of eastern England, moving into northern England and southern Scotland overnight.

Forecasters are warning of the risk of surface water flooding, strong gusts of wind, lightning and hail in affected areas.

Irene Rutherford sent us this picture of the situation outside Millfield Metro Station last night.

Irene Rutherford sent us this picture of the situation outside Millfield Metro Station last night.

Hourly rainfall rates could reach 15mm in parts of southern Scotland with overall totals between 20 and 40mm.

A separate alert for south west England and parts of Wales says that 30 to 60mm of rain could fall overnight.

A Met Office spokesman said: “We’ve seen some very potent thunderstorms and they will continue to rumble on through the coming hours.

“We’ll see further pulses of very heavy rain in south west England and into Wales, northern parts of England, south and south east parts of Scotland.”

South Tyneside bore the brunt of last night's downpour. Reader Aaron Kinson sent us this picture of a taxi surrounded by flood water at Tyne Dock last night.

South Tyneside bore the brunt of last night's downpour. Reader Aaron Kinson sent us this picture of a taxi surrounded by flood water at Tyne Dock last night.

The unsettled conditions are expected to last into the start of next week, before turning cooler again.

This week officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington DC said July’s average global temperature was 16.5C (61.86F), beating a previous record set in 1998 and 2010.

The first seven months of this year were also the hottest January-to-July span on record.

A Spanish Plume is a colloquial description of a weather situation in which a large southwards dip in the high altitude jet stream develops to the west of Europe, encouraging a deep southerly wind flow.

This pushes hot and humid air from Iberia north and north-east into northern Europe, including the British Isles.

The proximity of active weather systems moving with the jet stream along with heat from the summer sunshine can encourage thunderstorms.

Strong winds from the jet stream help to organise the thunderstorms and can increase their severity.