Belfast Telegraph

Lightning strikes and flash floods cause chaos

A man and his two children were taken to hospital after being struck by lightning and several motorists were rescued from submerged cars as the UK was battered by torrential rain and thunderstorms.

The 37-year-old man and his five-year-old son were left critically ill after being hit outside Killowen Primary School in Lisburn, Co Antrim.

The man's seven-year-old daughter was also seriously injured in the incident which happened shortly after 2pm on Tuesday as he collected his children from school.

Thunderstorms and lightning ripped across the UK throughout Tuesday afternoon, flooding roads, causing a temporary loss of power at Luton Airport, and setting alight trees, hoardings and telegraph poles.

In south London, 35mm of rain fell in the space of an hour causing three cars to become submerged in two metres (6.5ft) of water .

Darlington Imoh was one of three drivers rescued from the flash flood Wallington, Sutton, and said he feared he would drown before escaping through the window of his vehicle with the help of firefighters.

The 60-year-old told the Press Association he "hugged and thanked" firefighters after they saved him.

He said: "I couldn't open the door because of the force of the water. I unwound the window and struggled out and then I was rescued by the fire brigade - that's why I am alive standing here now.

"It is the closest I got to death. Survival was my biggest concern, to survive."

Mr Imoh's Vauxhall Zafira, a Mercedes and an Alfa Romeo got caught in the water on Manor Road, outside Wallington train station and underneath a railway bridge where the road dips.

London Fire Brigade said it had received more than 100 flood-related calls.

The Home Office said border security was not compromised after the loss of power at Luton Airport.

A spokesman said: "Luton Airport experienced a temporary loss of power as a result of thunderstorms in the area earlier this afternoon. Owing to this power interruption, security checks at passport control may take longer than normal.

"However, to be absolutely clear, border security has not been compromised in any way and we are able to carry out exactly the same security checks as we would normally."

An airport spokesman said queues were longer than expected but terminal staff were helping passengers, fast-tracking anyone in special need and handing out drinking water.

"It's not ideal but we have coped with it relatively well," he said, adding that the main computer system was back up within about two hours.

Grahame Madge, forecaster for the Met Office, said the downpours could continue to cause localised flooding, surface water flooding and travel disruption.

He added: "What we have is a situation where we have warm, very moist air coming in from the continent and the heat added to the warm air causes it to rise and sees the development of these showers.

"The intensity of those can be very severe in localised areas - as we have seen in some places like London and Brighton there has been very heavy rainfall. And that has led to flooding in some areas - which is exactly why we issued the warnings."

The Environment Agency said 35mm fell in an hour in south London, which Mr Madge said was an "exceptional" amount.

"We would have expected in an average June 49mm of rain to have fallen in London on average across the month - it is significant," he added.


From Belfast Telegraph