Weather to improve next week after rail, sport and tourism is affected by heavy rain

Tania Snuggs, news reporter

Forecasters say the UK weather will improve by next week after "treacherous" conditions in parts of the country following intense rainfall and flooding.

In total, 24 flood warnings are in place across England and a further 69 flood alerts, urging people to be prepared.

The heaviest rainfall of the day so far was recorded in Chillingham Barns, Northumberland, where there was almost 2.5cm of rain between 1am and 7am.

Elsewhere, Waddington in Lincolnshire had nearly 4cm of rain over 14 hours - while over the same period, Coleshill in Warwickshire had 3cm.

In one area in the West Midlands, train tracks were transformed into waterways and lines between Stratford-upon-Avon and Whitlock End were blocked after severe flooding.

Earlier, East Midlands Trains tweeted to say there had been heavy flooding on the tracks between Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire and that its service is now expected to be suspended until Saturday morning.

Lines were also blocked near Uttoxeter after a train hit part of a tree on the track around 7am on Thursday.

East Midlands Trains said it caused disruption to its services on the Derby/Crewe route but there was no major damage and no one was injured.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said nearly half of its call-outs overnight were related to the weather, with 31 of 71 calls to the service coming from people concerned about floodwater.

The bad weather has also affected sporting events, with the start of India's Cricket World Cup clash against New Zealand in Nottingham delayed and then called off without a ball being bowled at Trent Bridge.

It was the fourth match to be abandoned during the tournament with some questioning the absence of reserve days for group matches.

India captain Virat Kohli said: "Sensible decision to not play, given the outfield wasn't fully fit.

"One point not a bad thing for sides that have won all their games so far. So we'll take it."

On Wednesday night, a number of people needed rescuing from cars caught in floodwater in Nottingham and Warwickshire.

Nottingham City Transport tweeted: "So far tonight in Nottingham 18 people have had to be rescued by emergency services after getting stuck driving through flood water."

Environment Agency officials put up flood barriers in Northwich, Cheshire, amid concerns over the level of the River Weaver.

This week has seen showers and thunderstorms in southern and eastern parts of England, with a persistent band of rain edging north and west as the week has continued.

North Wales Police tweeted: "Assess the need for your journey, drive to the conditions and your driving ability. Please DO NOT ignore any road closure signs. Think safety."

However, the Met Office says conditions are expected to improve over the coming days.

Meteorologist Ollie Claydon believes the worst of the rainfall has passed, saying: "When it comes to the peak of rainfall intensity, we've seen it this morning.

"Throughout today we will expect it to ease down."

According to the Met Office, the wettest ever June for the UK as a whole was in 2012 when an average of almost 15cm of rain fell - as of June 11, the UK has seen nearly 6cm in total.

Mr Claydon says it is quite common for summer rain to fall in intense periods, unlike in winter when it tends to be spread over the month.

He explained: "It's not unusual to see high volumes of monthly rainfall in a small number of days.

"Over the weekend we will be heading back towards average.

"Today, London will be looking at a high of 15 degrees, by tomorrow we are looking at 19."

Although there may still be some cloud and rain in places, he claims "it will be nothing like we've seen over the last week.

"By the middle of next week things look like they will be calming down. It will be drier with a bit more sun around."