Flash flooding fears as Met Office issues rare amber thunderstorm warning

The Met Office has warned of thunderstorms with heavy rain and flash flooding in a rare amber weather alert for millions of Britons.

It said 40mm of rain could fall in less than two hours in places from 4pm, triggering fresh fears of flooding after days of soggy weather.

The amber warning covers an area from Brighton to Norwich and includes most of Greater London, kicking off a wet and windy week for Britain.

Thunderstorms moving in from northern France will bring torrential downpours, lightning, hail and gusty winds, threatening power cuts and travel disruption.

The Met Office said: "An area of thunderstorms across northern France is expected to move across parts of southeast England during this evening's main travel period.

"The main hazard is likely to be heavy rain with 30-40mm likely in 1-2 hours which may lead to flash flooding.

"Lightning, hail and gusty winds are also expected which may cause power cuts and travel disruption."

A yellow warning for rain is also in place for a wider area that extends west to Bath and north to Hull.

It is due to expire at midnight.

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