All planned surgery and outpatient appointments have been cancelled at an east London hospital after a weekend of heavy rain caused flooding in parts of the capital.
Officials said ambulances were being diverted away from Whipps Cross hospital while a cleanup operation was carried out. It comes after footage online showed various parts of the broader area under water.
“We are continuing to experience operational issues at Whipps Cross hospital due to the heavy rainfall yesterday. We cancelled all planned surgery and outpatient appointments for today, and are diverting ambulances while we work hard to clean up affected areas of the hospital,” said a spokesperson for Barts Health NHS trust.
“We are keeping the situation under constant review and will post updates about services as necessary. Meanwhile, we cleaned all areas affected by the flooding at Newham hospital yesterday and its emergency department is now open to people needing emergency care.
“We are working closely with other hospitals across the Barts Health group to maintain patient care and asking the public to check the latest visiting arrangements for each hospital on our website before coming to any site.”
Homes, roads and public transport stations in London were flooded as a result of the weekend’s rainfall, while the Environment Agency has six flood warnings in place across south-eastern England. In all, there are also 19 alerts for potential flooding active throughout England and Wales.
St James’s Park in London was the wettest part of the country on Sunday. The daily rainfall value of 41.8mm was that weather station’s second-wettest July day on record. The average rainfall for July in London is 45mm, so almost a month’s worth of rain fell in one 24-hour period.
Residents in north-east London used buckets, brooms and wooden boards to create makeshift flood defences for their homes, while water gushing from a station was caught on video.
London fire brigade said it had taken 300 flooding-related calls in just a few hours on Sunday.
A yellow thunderstorm warning is in place for parts of Kent and Sussex between 10am and 5pm on Monday while another yellow storm warning has been issued for much of the Midlands and northern England between 9am on Tuesday and 6am on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a yellow thunderstorm warning is in place for most of Scotland for 12 hours from noon on Tuesday, while yellow rain warnings also follow for all of Wednesday and the early hours of Thursday morning.
The Met Office said thunderstorms occurred when there was warm air on the surface that was underneath cooler air. The warm air rises and creates instability, which can create heavy downpours of rain and hail as well as the conditions for thunder and lightning.
A Met Office spokesperson said: “Going forward, there’s some more thunderstorms and intense downpours in the forecast, with a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms currently active until 5pm today in the far south-east.
“The current dominant weather pattern of the UK is set to be a spell of low pressure, bringing with it some more persistent rain from Tuesday and into Wednesday, with some slow moving heavy rain expected over Scotland on Wednesday in particular.”
The Standon Calling music festival, which had been taking place in Hertfordshire with a capacity of 15,000, was called off due to flooding. Standon Calling said on Twitter: “If you can safely leave the site this evening please do so as soon as possible. We are working on getting everyone off site as safely and quickly as possible.”
The festival said it expected “considerable delays” leaving the site and warned festivalgoers not to drive if intoxicated.