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Flash flooding warning as thunderstorms sweep in

Communities in south-east England are being warned of possible flash flooding as thunderstorms sweep across the region.

Amber "be prepared" weather warnings of heavy rain for this evening and tomorrow have been issued by the Met Office for the most south-easterly part of the country, while less serious yellow warnings of heavy rain are in place for the wider region.

Forecasters are warning that increasingly warm and humid air from France is bringing a risk of thunderstorms, arriving in two main waves from Wednesday late afternoon or early evening into Thursday and then later on Thursday.

Although some areas will avoid the thunderstorms, where they hit they could bring torrential rain and frequent lightning, as well as some hail.

More than 30mm (1.2 inches) of rain could fall in an hour, and in some spots more than 50mm (2 inches) could fall in the space of two or three hours, the Met Office said.

The Environment Agency said localised surface water flooding could occur in areas of the South East, particularly in parts of Kent, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

In response to the chance of flooding caused by the torrential downpours, the agency is urging people to check their flood risk.

Ian Nunn, Environment Agency manager, said: '"Thunderstorms are expected to bring heavy rain at times across the South East overnight (Wednesday) into Thursday morning, and intermittently through to Friday morning, which may lead to surface water flooding in some communities, and significant disruption to travel, particularly in parts of Kent, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

"There is also a risk of flooding from smaller, faster responding rivers in built-up areas."

As well as checking their flood risk, people are being warned not to go near or try to drive through fast moving water, as just 30cm (1ft) of floodwater is enough to move a car, according to the Environment Agency.

The warnings come after councils across the country launched awareness campaigns urging households and businesses to be prepared for the risk of flooding.

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