Met Office warns of lightning strikes and hail as severe thunderstorm alert issued

Weather forecasters say up to 50mm of rain could fall in just a few hours, with lightning strikes and hailstorms 'possible'
Weather forecasters say up to 50mm of rain could fall in just a few hours, with lightning strikes and hailstorms 'possible' -Credit:Adrian Meredith

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued in Bristol today, with lightning strikes, heavy rain and hail likely across the region. The warning, which was in place across parts of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, has been extended to include Bristol and Wales and is in place from noon to 9pm today (Tuesday, May 21).

Meteorologists say thunderstorms are 'likely' to develop throughout the day. The Met Office warns of difficult driving conditions, chances of flooding and lightning strikes, and very heavy rain at times. Up to 50mm of rain could fall in just a couple of hours, the forecaster says.

After hours of sunshine through the day, Bristol will start to see some heavy rain move in from 7pm, according to current predictions. Heavy rain is expected to carry on through the night, with hail in the early hours of the morning, and into tomorrow (Wednesday, May 22).

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The Met Office said: "Heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop during the afternoon across parts of southwest England, Wales and the West Midlands before slowly dying out during the evening. Many places will miss the worst, but where they do develop, some slow-moving and intense downpours are possible, giving accumulations of 20-30 mm in around 1 hour, and a lower likelihood of 40-50 mm in 2-3 hours in a few locations. Frequent lightning strikes and hail are also possible."

The severe weather warning had been issued across Somerset, Devon and Cornwall initially, but has since been expanded to include Bristol, South Gloucestershire and a large chunk of Wales. Another thunder warnings is also in place in the South East, and a heavy rain warning is in place across the Midlands and North.

Rain weather warnings are also in place across the Midlands and North both tomorrow and Thursday, May 23. Meteorologists say a bout of low pressure is causing this period of heavy rain.

Deputy chief meteorologist Dan Rudman said: “Low pressure is going to influence our weather from the middle of this week, bringing some heavy rain to parts of the UK. Eastern areas are most likely to see the highest rainfall accumulations, though this will depend on the precise positioning of the low pressure.

"It is important to keep an eye on the forecast as the detail becomes clearer, and it is possible severe weather warnings will also be issued.”

South West weekly forecast


Early low cloud clearing through the morning to leave sunny spells with scattered showers developing into the afternoon, these turning heavy or thundery especially across parts of Devon and Cornwall. Maximum temperature 20 °C.


Showers will ease during the evening, with most places becoming dry with clear spells overnight. Some low level cloud developing across parts of Devon and Cornwall later. Minimum temperature 8 °C.


A dry and bright start with any low level cloud soon to break up and clear. Showers once again developing but are expected to be less heavy than today. Maximum temperature 19 °C.

Outlook for Thursday to Saturday

Largely dry and fine on Thursday and Friday with just the odd shower around. Saturday likely to start dry but showery rain is expected to arrive later in the day.