UK weather: Builders celebrate as they are RAINED OFF site ahead of tonight’s Euro clash

Downpours and thunderstorms battering the country today failed to dampen the spirits of football fans as builders’ sites were rained off – meaning workers got an early start at the pub ahead of tonight’s Euro 2020 clash between England and Scotland. 

Builders across the country were rejoicing as the heavens opened – but it was bad news for campers who had decided to book staycations for this weekend.

Britain’s heatwave is well and truly over as lightning and torrential rain struck throughout the country overnight.  

Rain began to fall on Wednesday, which fell short of becoming the hottest day of the year so far when a high of 29.2C (84.56F) was recorded at Heathrow, after the 29.7C (85.46F) peak felt in Teddington, Middlesex, on Monday.

Today, lows of 10C are expected in the north of Scotland, and average temperatures of around 12C for rest of the country.

The Environment Agency has issued 17 flood alerts, with flooding possible in London and surrounding areas, and Kent. A yellow weather warning for rain covering much of England, apart from Devon and the North West, has also been issued by the Met Office.

The flooding caused the Blackwall Tunnel in Tower Hamlets, east London, to close briefly this morning – leading to a backlog of traffic causing chaos on the roads.  

Motorists also faced treacherous conditions on the A14 in Cambridge today as much of the UK woke to heavy rain and flooding. Drivers struggled along flooded roads on their morning commute as central, eastern and southern England was hit by thunderstorms and rain in the wake of two weeks of hot weather. 

The thunderstorms are the result of a small, low-pressure system moving in from Europe, with warmer surface-level air meeting colder upper air.

Storms began to build across the English Channel on Wednesday afternoon and reached the southern coast of England at around 7pm.

A lightning strike hit Arlington Reservoir in Berwick, East Sussex, at 8pm on Wednesday – marking the first of a number of thunder storms expected over the next few days.   

One unnamed builder said: ‘God is an Englishman, this rain could not have worked out better. I’m going home for some breakfast, then straight to the pub. It’s coming home!’ 

Downpours of rain across the country have led to flooding roads like this one near Ingatestone in Essex

Downpours of rain across the country have led to flooding roads like this one near Ingatestone in Essex

Downpours of rain across the country have led to flooding roads like this one near Ingatestone in Essex

Treacherous driving conditions on the A14 near Cambridge on Friday morning as the country is hit with heavy rain and thunderstorms

Treacherous driving conditions on the A14 near Cambridge on Friday morning as the country is hit with heavy rain and thunderstorms

Treacherous driving conditions on the A14 near Cambridge on Friday morning as the country is hit with heavy rain and thunderstorms

Britain's heatwave is well and truly over as lightning and torrential rain struck throughout the country overnight. Pictured: Lightning in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Britain's heatwave is well and truly over as lightning and torrential rain struck throughout the country overnight. Pictured: Lightning in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Britain’s heatwave is well and truly over as lightning and torrential rain struck throughout the country overnight. Pictured: Lightning in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Scottish Football supporters William Deighan (left) and Phillip Jones (right) in the rain in Leicester Square ahead of England vs Scotland UAFA Euro 2020 football match tonight

Scottish Football supporters William Deighan (left) and Phillip Jones (right) in the rain in Leicester Square ahead of England vs Scotland UAFA Euro 2020 football match tonight

Scottish Football supporters William Deighan (left) and Phillip Jones (right) in the rain in Leicester Square ahead of England vs Scotland UAFA Euro 2020 football match tonight

People in the rain around Leicester Square as the capital is struck with a deluge of rain

People in the rain around Leicester Square as the capital is struck with a deluge of rain

People in the rain around Leicester Square as the capital is struck with a deluge of rain 

A motorcyclist contends with floodwater while going through Chesham, Buckinghamshire

A motorcyclist contends with floodwater while going through Chesham, Buckinghamshire

A motorcyclist contends with floodwater while going through Chesham, Buckinghamshire 

Workers who have been rained off building sites across the country are rejoicing

Workers who have been rained off building sites across the country are rejoicing

Workers who have been rained off building sites across the country are rejoicing 

The flooding caused the Blackwall Tunnel in Tower Hamlets, east London, to close briefly this morning - leading to a backlog of traffic causing chaos on the roads

The flooding caused the Blackwall Tunnel in Tower Hamlets, east London, to close briefly this morning - leading to a backlog of traffic causing chaos on the roads

The flooding caused the Blackwall Tunnel in Tower Hamlets, east London, to close briefly this morning – leading to a backlog of traffic causing chaos on the roads

An ambulance on a 999 call battles through flood water on the A20 Aylesford near Maidstone in Kent

An ambulance on a 999 call battles through flood water on the A20 Aylesford near Maidstone in Kent

An ambulance on a 999 call battles through flood water on the A20 Aylesford near Maidstone in Kent

A Royal Ascot racegoer is spotted battling with the downpours as she walks through the rain under an umbrella

A Royal Ascot racegoer is spotted battling with the downpours as she walks through the rain under an umbrella

A Royal Ascot racegoer is spotted battling with the downpours as she walks through the rain under an umbrella

And in Leicester Square two Scotland supporters were spotted enjoying a couple of pints over a full English breakfast at a Wetherspoon pub. 

Others took to Twitter to voice their excitement at their upcoming trips to boozers across the UK with one saying: ‘Pub at the crack of dawn then straight to the capital, today is going to be fantastic.’ 

While another wrote: ‘The good thing about tonight’s game is we can go to the pub, regardless of the result I’m expecting it’s going to be a class occasion.’

And another said: ‘All the lads working on site will be fizzing today, it’s Friday, it’s pouring with rain so they’ll get rained off just in time to go pub all day and watch England v Scotland.’

While another one wrote: ‘What a day to be rained off!!!! Let the madness begin.’ 

Football fans have already been predicted to buy 3.4million pints during tonight’s match and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) estimates that 14.8 million pints will be sold across England and Scotland throughout the whole day, with over 3 million sales during the game itself.

But the trade association warned that due to Covid-19 restrictions, including social distancing, rule of six and no standing, that beer sales will be reduced by almost 850,000 pints –  causing a revenue loss of around £3.2 million for pubs across England and Scotland.

Chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association Emma McClarkin said: ‘Whether you’re supporting England or Scotland, nothing beats watching the game at the pub.

‘Given pubs have been closed or faced restrictions for more than a year in both England and Scotland, every little helps and is critical to their recovery and survival.

‘Given the delay in England to the lockdown and with rumours suggesting a similar delay could be coming in Scotland, it is a real great shame that fans will not even be able to enjoy the tournament without restrictions in the latter stages. All restrictions on pubs in England and Scotland must be removed as soon as possible for our sector to survive and recover.’ 

A car drives through a flooded road near Chesham, Buckinghamshire, as rain and thunderstorms are set to sweep the South East in the coming days

A car drives through a flooded road near Chesham, Buckinghamshire, as rain and thunderstorms are set to sweep the South East in the coming days

A car drives through a flooded road near Chesham, Buckinghamshire, as rain and thunderstorms are set to sweep the South East in the coming days

And in Leicester Square two Scotland supporters were spotted enjoying a couple of pints over a full English breakfast at a Wetherspoon pub

And in Leicester Square two Scotland supporters were spotted enjoying a couple of pints over a full English breakfast at a Wetherspoon pub

And in Leicester Square two Scotland supporters were spotted enjoying a couple of pints over a full English breakfast at a Wetherspoon pub

Met Office has even issued a yellow weather warning to the east and south of the country for thunderstorms and potential flooding. It added that some areas could become cut off from by floods and there is a risk of power cuts. Pictured: Lightning in Great Yarmouth

Met Office has even issued a yellow weather warning to the east and south of the country for thunderstorms and potential flooding. It added that some areas could become cut off from by floods and there is a risk of power cuts. Pictured: Lightning in Great Yarmouth

Met Office has even issued a yellow weather warning to the east and south of the country for thunderstorms and potential flooding. It added that some areas could become cut off from by floods and there is a risk of power cuts. Pictured: Lightning in Great Yarmouth 

Lightning in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk as the good weather ends bringing thunderstorms around the country

Lightning in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk as the good weather ends bringing thunderstorms around the country

Lightning in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk as the good weather ends bringing thunderstorms around the country

Racegoers decked out in waterproof ponchos battle the rain as they arrive for the fourth day of Royal Ascot

Racegoers decked out in waterproof ponchos battle the rain as they arrive for the fourth day of Royal Ascot

Racegoers decked out in waterproof ponchos battle the rain as they arrive for the fourth day of Royal Ascot 

A woman holding an umbrella contends with a large puddle as Royal Ascot during downpours across the country

A woman holding an umbrella contends with a large puddle as Royal Ascot during downpours across the country

A woman holding an umbrella contends with a large puddle as Royal Ascot during downpours across the country 

A family walks by the beach wearing rain jackets and carrying umbrellas in Bournemouth as rain pummels the country

A family walks by the beach wearing rain jackets and carrying umbrellas in Bournemouth as rain pummels the country

A family walks by the beach wearing rain jackets and carrying umbrellas in Bournemouth as rain pummels the country 

Locals queue for the Oceanarium in Bournemouth as an activity to get out of the downpours hitting the country today

Locals queue for the Oceanarium in Bournemouth as an activity to get out of the downpours hitting the country today

Locals queue for the Oceanarium in Bournemouth as an activity to get out of the downpours hitting the country today

Today temperatures will range from highs of 17C (62.6F) in London and 18C (64.4) in Cardiff to 16C (60.8F) in Belfast and 14C (57.2) in Edinburgh.

The mercury is set to rise a couple of degrees everywhere on Saturday, remaining stable on Sunday.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said Blackpool will see the highest temperatures, while cloud cover cools southern regions.

He said: ‘In the South East, there will be rain every day for the next few days, and some places could see up to 80mm (3.2in) on Friday.

‘The heaviest rain will be in places from Hampshire up to Yorkshire, where we are quite likely to see intense rainfall which will clear away tonight. Away from the South East, it’s a relatively fine day.

‘The warmest temperatures we are likely to see today are 18C (64.4F) around the Irish Sea coast – so places like Blackpool.

‘Under the cloud of the South and East we are going to see temperatures getting to 15C (59F), so much cooler than the last few days.’

A racegoer wears rain covers on her feet as she arrives for day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

A racegoer wears rain covers on her feet as she arrives for day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

A racegoer wears rain covers on her feet as she arrives for day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

Cars drive through huge amounts of surface water during today's deluge in London, Britain

Cars drive through huge amounts of surface water during today's deluge in London, Britain

Cars drive through huge amounts of surface water during today’s deluge in London, Britain 

Some standing water on the course during day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

Some standing water on the course during day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

Some standing water on the course during day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

He added that Saturday has the ‘potential to be drier’ in the South but the deluge is set to return on Sunday and last into next week.

The Environment Agency has urged drivers not to plough through flood water, warning that just 1ft (30cm) of flowing water is enough to float a vehicle.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has also alerted drivers to ‘lots of standing water’ on the roads, while the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVLA) has issued advice on driving safely through summer showers.

The DVLA’s tips include allowing at least double the usual separation distance between your vehicle and the one in front, keeping speed down and using dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you.

The Met Office’s Mr Madge said the heaviest downpours could clear in time for football fans watching the Euros match between England and Scotland in Wembley or Trafalgar Square on Friday night.

‘Most of the heavy rain in the South and East will have largely moved away by 8pm,’ he said.

‘We are expecting the heaviest bursts to be continuing until about 6pm, but there is still a risk of rain afterwards.’ 

The rain is expected to carry on all day and into the night and until tomorrow which the Met Office predicts will see dry sunny spells. 

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said: ‘In short, our current forecasts don’t indicate a heatwave on the immediate horizon, although looking as far ahead as the June 25, obviously brings a level of uncertainty into the forecast.

‘Current indications suggest spells of warm, settled conditions from late June heading into July, but rainfall amounts are also expected to be at around average levels for the time of year.’  

And in Kent violent thunderstorms have led to a very bleak prospect for local swimmers as a warning was put out saying: ‘Stay out of the sea or you’ll get covered in human excrement!’.  

A bolt of lightning struck a sewage pumping station at Margate on Wednesday night and as a result, thousands of gallons of untreated waste has been flooding into the English Channel near prime sunbathing beaches, from Margate’s main sands around the coast to Joss Bay in Broadstairs, a distance of about ten miles.

Southern Water says a team of 20 staff with tractors and diggers to scoop the sewage off the sand have been making ‘good progress’ on the clean-up.

A woman battles in the rain with her umbrella around Leicester Square this morning

A woman battles in the rain with her umbrella around Leicester Square this morning

A woman battles in the rain with her umbrella around Leicester Square this morning 

Two women walk through the downpour in London this morning

Two women walk through the downpour in London this morning

Two women walk through the downpour in London this morning 

A woman holds an umbrella close to her face to protect herself from the rain in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A woman holds an umbrella close to her face to protect herself from the rain in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A woman holds an umbrella close to her face to protect herself from the rain in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A man clutches his groceries while out and about in the downpours today in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A man clutches his groceries while out and about in the downpours today in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A man clutches his groceries while out and about in the downpours today in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A man battles with the torrential rain while going to the supermarket in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A man battles with the torrential rain while going to the supermarket in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A man battles with the torrential rain while going to the supermarket in Emmer Green, Berkshire

A woman protects her shoes in plastic zip up boots at day four of Royal Ascot in the rain

A woman protects her shoes in plastic zip up boots at day four of Royal Ascot in the rain

A woman protects her shoes in plastic zip up boots at day four of Royal Ascot in the rain 

But people have been advised not to enter the sea or the beach below the high water mark between Margate Main Sands and Joss Bay until the all-clear is given.

Southern Water said yesterday ‘We’re very sorry to report that due to a lightning strike at Margate Pumping Station overnight, waste water was released via the emergency outfall into Palm Bay and Margate Sands.

‘The site was damaged and suffered a power outage during the heavy storm, and the heavily diluted incoming flows were diverted through the outfall to prevent wastewater backing up and to protect local properties from internal flooding. A team had been placed at site in preparation for the bad weather, so was able to immediately begin work to restore services.

‘The clean-up is now well advanced, in partnership with Thanet council, and our priority is to ensure that the beaches can re-open safely to the public as quickly as possible. The clean-up crew will return to the beach after high tide to check for any residual debris which has washed up on shore and will continue to monitor the coastline.

‘The pumping station is operating normally following repairs. No pollution is acceptable and we’re working with the Environment Agency, Natural England and the local authority to assess the impact on the environment. We apologise to the local residents and businesses affected by this incident.’ 

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