News archive

Sydney lightning storm kills one, sends beachgoers scrambling (6/12/2016)

A man has died and a woman was injured after lightning struck their campsite on a mountain summit in New South Wales. More than 6,000 lightning bolts lit up Sydney's sky as severe thunderstorms hit the state. "Lightning struck a tree, there was two campers were in a tent at the base of the tree and as a result we've had a male that's died and a woman that's been taken to hospital with neck injuries," says Tweed Byron Police Commander Wayne Starling. Two hikers tried to resuscitate the man for over an hour. At the storm's peak there were more than 500 strikes an hour. Beachgoers in Bondi were forced to find shelter. "There was the most incredible noise and explosion, the like of which I've never heard before," said Sydney local Geoff McIntyre. "And I thought God it seemed it hit just outside the window and then you could smell smoke and you couldn't see across the river." At the airport international flights were delayed. Ground staff were ordered undercover to avoid the risk of being struck. And this is just the start with meteorologists warning a destructive season's on its way.
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Vicious storm cell wreaks havoc across Sydney (5/12/2016)

A brief but vicious storm has left a man struck by lightning, a house on fire, another struck by a falling tree, heavy rain and hail and delays to planes and trains. Sydney was hammered by the hour-long storm on Monday afternoon, wreaking havoc across the city. A yachtsman was hit by one of 5000 of lightning strikes and taken to hospital in Mona Vale, according to 9 News. In Huntleys Cove, on Sydney's Lower North Shore, a house caught fire after being struck by lightning. he mother and two daughters inside escaped safely. In Peakhurst, a house was damaged when a falling tree struck it, it was reported. Flights at the city's airport were delayed by up to two hours due to the storm. Motorists were also delayed after severe storms cut power to traffic signals across the city. All trains between Granville and Cabramatta were cancelled briefly on Monday afternoon as urgent repairs were undertaken on equipment battered by storms. Train passengers in most directions out of the city were told to brace for delays. Up to 16mm fell in Little Bay during the short but severe downpour. Earlier, asthma and hay fever suffers in Sydney were told to stay indoors after the predicted thunderstorms to avoid experiencing breathing problems. Respiratory physician Dr Jonathan Burdon, who chairs the National Asthma Council of Australia, said the rain was likely to stir rye grass starches and pollen which made going outside risky after the storm. 'It's really after the rain has been where the pollen gets ruptured and the starch granules start being released into the atmosphere,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Monday. 'Once the wind starts it will blow up the pollens.'
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Adverse weather conditionds cause major floods on Lesvos (29/11/2016)

The Monday evening storms flooded many homes and shops and turned streets into rivers in Kalloni and Plomari, on the island of Lesvos. Local media reported that there was more than 200 mm of rainfall in the evening, which caused many rivers to overflow. As a result the schools in the area of Kalloni will remain closed on Tuesday. Serious problems were also experienced in Plomari, where the Fire Brigade had to be called out to remove a car that was swept away by the Sedountas River. The Fire Brigade and municipal authorities are working hard to restore problems and have advised drivers not to move unnecessarily.
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Adverse weather conditions in Greece cause one death and major damages (28/11/2016)

The heavy rainfall and thunderstorms that struck Greece over the weekend resulted in one death and many damages across the country. A 32-year-old man in Zakynthos tragically lost his life on Saturday, after his car got stuck in a flooded ditch. It appears that he managed to get out of the vehicle, but was swept away by the strong torrents, as the Fire Brigade later found his body about three kilometers away from the car. The adverse weather conditions are expected to continue on Monday, with the temperature expected to drop by up to ten degrees in many areas in the country. Conditions in the southern Ionian, Peloponnesus, central Greece and the Aegean islands are expected to be more intense than in the rest of the country.
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One feared dead as storms continue to batter northern Italy (27/11/2016)

Torrential downpours caused flooding in parts of northwest Italy on Thursday, with the rains expected to continue until the weekend. On Friday morning, police were searching for a missing person in Perosa Argentina, a small town southwest of Turin. According to initial reports, the man is a 70-year-old who fell into the Pellice tributary of the Po river, after a road collapsed. He was reportedly trying to help his horses when he got swept away. The floods forced the closure of many roads, schools and businesses in the Piedmont and Liguria regions near southeastern France, which has also been hit by heavy rain. Production has been halted at the Ferrero factory in Alba, which produces Nutella and Ferrero Rocher among other chocolatey treats, due to fears over the high level of the nearby Tanaro river. Most bridges in Turin have been closed due to safety worries, as the Po rose to a metre above its designated safety level. A red alert warning, the highest level, is still in place in Liguria until at least midday. A total of around 400 people have been evacuated from their homes in Piedmont; 250 in Cuneo and 150 in Turin, while a further 200 have been evacuated in Liguria. The presidents of the two regions said they would ask for a "state of natural disaster" to be put in place. This is different from the "state of emergency" which was put in place after the central Italy earthquakes earlier this year and is used only for disasters affecting the country on a national level. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Turin on Thursday to meet members of the Piedmont region's Civil Protection Department and local authorities. Renzi said: "The emergency phase is not over; no one can breathe a sigh of relief just yet." Italian television channels showed footage of the Tanaro river bursting its banks and cutting in two the town of Garessio in Cuneo province near the tiny Mediterranean principality of Monaco. "We are frightened, this reminds us of the floods of 1994," Garessio mayor Sergio di Steffano told reporters. Flooding on November 5 and 6, 1994, left 70 people dead. No casualties have yet been reported from Thursday's storms. "We have shut all the bridges, factories and schools. The bars and shops in the (town) centre are flooded. The main road is shut, we are cut off from the world," di Steffano said. Isolated hamlets have been made inaccessible by the flooding and road closures. A leading local official from Cuneo, Giovanni Russo, called on residents to stay away from the water except in case of absolute necessity.
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Lightning activity over western Mediterranean continued on Thursday, 24/11/2016

Thousands of lightning strikes over western Mediterranean on Thursday, 24/11/2016. ZEUS, the lightning detection network of the National Observatory of Athens, recorded over 8000 strikes, spread from the first to the last hour of the day.
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A lot of lightning recorded yesterday (23/11/2016) over French, Spanish and Portuguese coasts and the Pyrenees.

Over 12000 lightning strikes were recorded over southwestern Europe, by the lightning detection system ZEUS of the National Observatory of Athens, on Wednesday, 23/11/2016. The most affected regions were the Portuguese coasts and off-coast Atlantic regions, the Spanish and French Mediterranean coasts and the regions around Pyrenees.
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Police, lifeguards and coastguard helicopter search for 2 people in the water as Environment Agency issues 75 flood warnings across battered Britain in the aftermath of Storm Angus (22/11/2016)

A woman is in a life-threatening condition after being pulled from the sea as Britain is battered by yet another day of wind and rain. The woman, who has not been named, was found after police, lifeguards and a coastguard helicopter were deployed on a search operation off the coast of Folkstone, Kent. She was airlifted to hospital this morning. Reports suggest another person remains in the water and another rescue mission is underway. The Environment Agency has issued 75 fresh flood warnings today, telling dozens of communities, mainly in the South West and North East, to 'take immediate action' as 'flooding is expected'. Today thousands of commuters face renewed travel chaos as the country continues to reel from the effects of Storm Angus - which brought hurricane force winds and driving downpours to southern Britain on Sunday. Meanwhile search teams were waiting for conditions to improve to resume an operation to find a pensioner who went missing in South Wales. Wind warnings issued by the Met Office are due to remain in place until later this morning, with gusts of up to 70mph recorded on the Isle of Wight. Police have been searching for Russell Sherwood, 69, along flooded land after he went missing while on his way to pick up his wife in the Stormy Down area of Bridgend in South Wales. Search teams assisted by a helicopter searched the River Ogmore along the A48 road for Mr Sherwood on Monday morning. But police announced they were standing down their search at 3.40pm due to the extreme weather and fading light. A spokesman for South Wales Police said: 'Officers will resume the search tomorrow once safe to do so. 'We are still appealing to the public for any information to locate Mr Sherwood who became missing after he set off on a car journey on the morning of Sunday, 20 November, 2016.' Mr Sherwood, from Neath in South Wales, was on his way to pick up his wife in Bridgend in his silver Ford Focus around 6.15am on Sunday, but never reached his destination. The news about Mr Sherwood comes as an elderly woman, who has not been named, was found at her home in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow yesterday morning. It is not known how long she had been there for but temperatures dropped below freezing in the area over the weekend. More than 100 homes have been hit by flooding after heavy rain and wind brought by Storm Angus hit the country yesterday. There were also reports of people being helped from their vehicles. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said two people were 'assisted from a vehicle' on the B3109 in South Wraxall. While in Carmarthenshire, Wales, Dyfed Powys Police said a man was helped from a van which had become trapped in flood water before it was 'washed away'. Meanwhile, passengers and crew onboard a Stena Europe ferry were forced to stay on board after the vessel failed to dock in Fishguard Harbour at 12.30pm after sailing from Rosslare, Ireland at 9am. A spokeswoman for Stena Line said: 'The health and safety of passengers and crew is of paramount importance to Stena Line, therefore the 87 passengers and 59 crew members will remain onboard overnight until a second attempt at docking takes place at midday tomorrow.' In the North of England, flood warnings have been issued for parts of Greater Manchester as torrential rain continues to fall in the area. The fire service have urged people to remain in their homes due to 'neck-deep' water and there have also been reports of people being rescued from their first and second floor windows.
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Earthquake: strange glowing in the sky possibly 'earthquake lightning' (14/11/2016)

What was that strange light in the sky? Many people overnight reported seeing strange lights in the sky, a phenomenon that has been reported for centuries before, during, and after earthquakes. Seismologists aren't in agreement about the causes of the hotly-debated phenomenon - called earthquake lights or, sometimes, earthquake lightning. And, of course, it's not clear whether the lights overnight in New Zealand were the phenomenon, or something else. One theory suggests dormant electrical charges in rocks are triggered by the stress of the Earth's crust and plate tectonics, transferring the charge to the surface where it appears as light. Historical reports include globes, or orbs, of glowing light, floating just above the ground or in the sky. Much like tidal research, it is an area that is notoriously difficult to investigate. Tidal stresses and their effects on the Earth are minute, but measurable, although many seismologists remain unconvinced by theories of "tidally triggered" earthquakes. With "earthquake light", the phenomenon is also notoriously difficult to observe, study, and measure.​ GNS seismologist Caroline Holden said there were anecdotal reports of lights in the sky. "Unfortunately, we cannot measure this phenomena or its extent with our instruments to provide a clear explanation," she said. The phenomenon has been documented for centuries. Hypotheses have suggested the movement of rocks could generate an electric field, others suggest quakes can lead to rocks conducting electromagnetic energy and a subsequent build up of electric charges in the upper atmosphere. Yet another theory suggests a link between the electric charge, or current, released by the earth ripping and buckling below the surface, and the magnetic properties of rock. The charge appears as light, so the theory goes. People reported similar strange lights in the sky during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. In 1888, before a large quake around the Hanmer region, a strange glow in the sky was reported by observers. One recent study documented hundreds of sightings of strange light, glowing, and aurora-like reports, from 1600 to the 19th century. The study in the Seismological Research Letters suggested a charge builds up in rock inside the Earth's crust and, as it becomes rapidly unstable in a quake, expands outward. In an earthquake, the electrical charge transfers from below the surface to the surface, or above, depending on the conductivity of the rock - appearing as light. "When such an intense charge state reaches the Earth's surface and crosses the ground–air interface, it is expected to cause [an electric transmission and breakdown] of the air and, hence, an outburst of light. "This process is suspected to be responsible for flashes of light coming out of the ground and expanding to considerable heights at the time when seismic waves from a large earthquake pass by." The study said some seismologists also think the theory could account for other phenomena, such as changes to electrical fields, strange fog, haze, clouds, and low-frequency humming or radio frequency emission. In the study, the researchers found the light was more often associated with a type of quake in which tectonic plates are wrenched apart, known as a "rift" earthquake
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Brisbane battered by huge hailstones and 3,000 lightning strikes that cut power to entire neighbourhoods (09/11/2016)

Brisbane was battered by huge hailstones and more than 3,000 lightning strikes as fierce storms pounded south-east Queensland. More than 2,000 homes were without power after the storm on Tuesday afternoon, which saw 18mm of rain fall in just 30 minutes. Shocked residents filmed as massive hailstones crashed to the earth, with 5cm chunks of ice coming down in Ipswich, west of Brisbane. The ferocious storm is the just the start of the bad weather in Queensland this week, with four more days of thunder and lightning ahead. The first flashes of lightning were spotted about 3pm on the outskirts of Brisbane and continued until at least 6pm. As many as 3,000 lightning bolts hit Brisbane and Ipswich today, according to Weatherzone, but fortunately no one was hurt. The summer storm came on the hottest day in parts of Brisbane since February, with highs of just under 38C. But the temperature quickly plummeted by up to seven degrees as the rain and hail swept in. More than 2,000 homes are with out power, with most of the blackouts on the Sunshine Coast, the Brisbane Times reported. There were further power cuts in Ipswich and Brisbane's CBD. Darwin is also facing a week of storms, with no sign of a day without thunder and lightning in the next week. After a balmy weekend, Sydney is in for a couple of cooler few days. Showers are forecast on Wednesday and Thursday, with the sunshine returning in proper on Sunday, when temperatures could reach 29C. It will be a wet week in Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide too. Perth is set for showers too, with rain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But the west coast city will be bathed in sunshine on Sunday and Monday, when temperatures could reach 31C. Meanwhile, in Hobart, it will be cloudy tomorrow, with highs of 20C, before a week of rain.
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Lockheed satellite system aids tornado, sun storm warnings (7/11/2016)

Weather forecasters can now provide about 15 minutes of warning before a tornado hits an area, but an advanced satellite detection system developed in Palo Alto could increase that to 30 minutes. The Geostationary Lightning Mapper, developed by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, is scheduled to go into orbit aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite. “By providing increased tornado warnings, we’ll be saving people’s lives on the ground,” said Jeff Vanden Beukel, Lockheed Martin’s program director, during a press preview last week. The Advanced Technology Center, Lockheed’s Palo Alto outpost, has also developed an advanced solar storm detection system that will provide earlier warnings of electromagnetic waves emanating from the sun that could disrupt Earth’s communications systems and electrical grid. Both instruments will be aboard each of four weather satellites that will watch Earth’s Western Hemisphere in orbit about 22,500 miles above ground. The launch is scheduled for Nov. 19 from Cape Canaveral. The total cost of the program, including four satellites and associated ground systems, is $10.83 billion, including 30 years of operations. Lockheed Martin will receive a portion of this total for its building and testing the satellites plus three instruments on each spacecraft. The satellites represent an important advance in forecasting tornadoes and severe weather, said Steve Goodman, the ocean and atmospheric agency’s chief scientist for the satellites. “This is the first major upgrade in 22 years,” Goodman said. The 200-pound lightning mapper, roughly the size of a large gym bag, is a new tool for weather forecasters. It has seven high-powered lenses, protected from the conditions of space with a gold-plated cover, that snap images of clouds below at 500 frames per second; a standard video camera shoots 30 frames per second. The images can detect lightning activity — including hail particles and ice crystals colliding to produce an electrical reaction — high up in clouds before it intensifies enough to start hitting the ground. The information can help forecasters spot patterns that could develop into severe storms, Vanden Beukel said. More by Benny Evangelista Dolby scientist Evan Gitterman watches a film while having his biological responses monitored in the Biophysical Lab at the Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Inside Dolby Laboratories as it moves beyond sound (Front to back) Brett Branch, Jason Schugardt, and JMatthew Noyas throw and block fireballs as they try out a VR system running on Intel Corei7 at the Virtual Reality Developers Conference on Thursday, Oct 3, 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. Learning empathy through virtual reality Jason Scott, MC'd the event during a 20th anniversary celebration of the Internet Archive in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. Internet Archive, repository of modern culture, turns 20 Salesperson Austen Trainer of Davis watches pedestrians walk by outside of Suitable Technologies' Beam store in Palo Alto, Calif., on Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Are robot clerks the way of the future? The high-resolution images can detect lightning even during daylight hours, and with the satellite’s positioning, can help airline pilots avoid severe turbulence over oceans, where there aren’t ground-based weather spotting crews, Goodman said. “We can hopefully avoid turbulence and make your flight more efficient and safer out over the ocean,” he said. The solar imager is an updated version of a previous model, with increased ability to detect ultraviolet light from the sun. Scientists can study the images to better understand why and when solar storms form and when flares might be headed toward Earth. Scientists believe the imager will provide more warning time for astronauts on space walks and for satellite operators to power down before their systems can be affected. Severe solar storms have also been shown to cause brownouts and blackouts on the ground.
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Thousands of lightning strikes in southern California (25/10/2016)

Thousands of lightning strikes have occurred in southern California between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon.
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Lightning strike closes German Village church indefinitely (14/10/2016)

St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in German Village sustained a lightning strike late last month that was so severe, the church has closed until all necessary repairs are made. The lightning strike occurred Sept. 25, hitting the stainless-steel cross at the top of the spire. The church is at 684 S. Third St. After an inspection of the church building by structural engineers Oct. 7, it was determined roof-truss joints were in significant need of repair and the church would close temporarily until necessary renovations are made. Weekend Masses will be relocated temporarily to the adjacent St. Mary Catholic School gymnasium; weekday Masses will be held in the church’s chapel. Assessments are underway to determine the timeframe and cost for repairs, church officials said.
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Lightning strike causes fire near 670,000 gallons of solid waste in Madison, USA (13/10/2016)

A lightning strike is believed to be the cause of a fire that started early Wednesday morning at the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District headquarters on Madison’s south side. According to a Madison Fire Department incident report, Ladder Company 6 and other crews arrived on the scene after employees saw lightning and smelled something burning. Firefighters stopped the fire from a distance. Firefighters and wastewater treatment staff were concerned an explosion and widespread damage could have happened because the location where the fire occurred sits on top of a digester that contains 670,000 gallons of solid waste. Each day the waste produces 60,000 cubic feet of methane gas. The wastewater treatment operations building and a nearby home were evacuated. After crews extinguished the fire, the area was deemed safe and crews were cleared from the scene within an hour.
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Cross-eyed instrument to help UAH test GLM, study lightning (7/10/2016)

Designed to test and validate a lightning sensor set for launch into geostationary orbit in November, a set of sensor "eyes" is nearing completion in labs at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. These sensor eyes, however, are cross-eyed. The Fly's Eye GLM Simulator (FEGS) was conceived to be much like a fly's compound eye, with sensors in the middle looking down and those nearer the edges looking farther out. That would allow the sensors to see lightning anywhere beneath the high-flying NASA aircraft carrying the instrument package far above a storm. Then it was found the aircraft window the sensors will see through is only 16 inches across, much smaller than the instrument. It was time for plan B. "We had to design it so the sensors in each corner look across through the window at the opposite corner," explained Mason Quick, a NASA post-doc working on the project in the lightning group of UAH's Earth System Science Center. "Then, when we collect the data, we will have to flip the pieces to put together an image that makes sense."
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South Australia battered by lightning, high winds (30/9/2016)

South Australia is being lashed by lighting strikes, heavy rain and high winds that have knocked out power to city of Adelaide and surrounding rural areas. About 80,000 lightning strikes have been recorded during the severe weather, hitting electrical plants, while wind knocked down at least 20 transmission towers. State Premier Jay Weatherill compared the storm to 2012's Hurricane Sandy. South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens urged the public to leave work early, to avoid the congestion and being caught in the weather. About 100 schools remain closed as tens of thousands remain without power in many areas. Between to three inches of rain could be dumped on the state over the next 24 hours with Weatherill declaring it an "unprecedented weather event."
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lightning strike kills 2 farmers in India (27/9/2016)

Two farmers were killed after lightning struck them at Khairadohar village within the limits of Naudihabazar Police station of Palamau district today, officials said. The victims, identified as Putai Yadav (36) and Tulsi Viswakarma (40), were working in the field when rain accompanied by thunderbolt struck the area, officials said. Both victims ran to take shelter under a tree, but were struck by lightning and were killed on the spot, they said. The bodies have been sent to Sadar Hospital, Medininagar for post-mortem. The Deputy Commissioner of Palamau, Amit Kumar has assured to provide compensation as per government provisions. (This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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Russian player dies after lightning strike (22/9/2016)

An 18-year-old footballer has tragically died after lightning hit a set of metal goalposts during a local competition game in the Russian city of Rubtsovsk. Russian authorities confirmed the teenager, who has not been named, died during a game involving teams of students on Wednesday in the Siberian town. Three others were also injured after players from both teams were crowded in the penalty area when lightning hit the nearby set of metal goalposts. Investigators said the 18-year-old "died at the scene" and the three injured players required medical treatment, without providing further details of their condition.
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French, U.S. lightning bolts deemed to be world’s longest (17/9/2016)

Researchers have identified lightning bolts in Oklahoma and France as the longest on record and warn that their discovery could alter traditional thinking of when it is safe to go outside after a storm passes. A 2007 storm in Oklahoma produced a lightning bolt nearly 200 miles (320 km) long. A 2012 storm in southern France produced a single flash that lasted 7.74 seconds. Both events were added Wednesday to a list of weather extremes kept by the World Meteorological Organization. “We should be more aware of lightning if we can have lightning that can travel 200 miles,” said Randy Cerveny, the WMO’s spokesman on weather and climate extremes. “If thunder roars, go indoors.” Timothy Lang, a researcher at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said the record Oklahoma lightning bolt streaked from Tulsa, near the Arkansas border, to near the Oklahoma Panhandle. The bolt started at an altitude of 6 miles (9.6 km) and reached the ground in a number of places, he said. A researcher in Colorado saw the streak, and Lang said its length could change thinking about safety after a storm. “The lightning can start tens or hundreds of miles away and then come back to where you are,” Lang said. “You have to be careful of where the lightning is coming to ground, even though the storm is past.” Meteorologists generally suggest a “30-30” rule when storms are near. Start counting when you see a lightning bolt. If you reach 30 seconds before hearing the thunder, it is generally safe to continue outdoor activities. If thunder is heard in under 30 seconds, stop outdoor activities and wait 30 minutes before resuming. “These kinds of rules need to be looked at. It’s going to depend on the kind of thunderstorm,” Lang said. “You really need to know where it (lightning) is occurring. There could be a lower risk — the lower the flash rate — but it’s not ‘no-risk.’ “ Cerveny said not all storms will have lightning as extreme as the Oklahoma and French storms. The Oklahoma storm was in a particularly large complex of bad weather that occurred very early on June 20, 2007. Lightning sensors on the ground tracked the bolt’s path. “Most lightning will strike within the 30-30 rule,” he said. “The 30-30 rule is one that we still want to stress and make sure people are aware of … but it does demonstrate that lightning can hit far from where the storm actually is.” The Oklahoma flash lasted a bit more than five seconds, while the French bolt doubled back on itself, extending its life to 7.74 seconds, said Cerveny, a professor of geographic sciences at Arizona State University. The aerospace industry has an interest in lightning because it can endanger people on airplanes in flight, while meteorologists can use spikes in lightning to judge a storm’s severity, Lang said. “Oklahoma is a good place to study storms like this.”
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Summer goes out with a bang in the UK (17/9/2016)

Britain has woken up to flash flooding, thunder and lightning as stormy weather lashes much of the country – dumping almost half a month's rain in a few hours and bringing an abrupt end to the September heatwave. Roads and properties have been hit by severe flooding in parts of central London, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Greater London after a band of torrential rain moved in from the Channel overnight. Dramatic pictures show cars submerged in floodwater, Tube stations flooded and lightning bolts over the capital. And it may be a miserable journey home after a rainy day in the capital as flooding threatens to give commuters a disappointing start to the weekend. Delays of up to an hour are affecting trains from London Euston to Milton Keynes after a landslide derailed a train between Watford Junction and Kings Langley, causing major disruption and scores of cancellations for travellers trying to get from London Euston to the Midlands and the North. Hundreds of passengers were trapped on the two stricken trains for more than four hours this morning. The delays are expected to last until the end of the day. Up to two ft of flood water at Didcot Parkway and Newbury stations in Oxfordshire caused travel chaos. The deluge flooded the underpass at Didcot, meaning only one platform could be used. Lines at Newbury were submerged by the water preventing services from stopping until one platform operated a reduced service in the afternoon. The bad weather could continue into Saturday, compounding affected areas further, the environment agency warned. Water submerged stretches of motorway including on the M4 and M25, where two lorries crashed at around 5.20am. It was hoped the anticlockwise carriageway of the M25 and the M4 at junction eight would be fully open 'before tonight's peak period, unless weather conditions change again,' said a Highways England spokeswoman. Trains from Paddington and Euston are delayed and passengers trying to catch flights from Heathrow have allegedly been told not to try to get to the airport today, but that their tickets would be valid tomorrow. The stormy conditions bring a sudden end to the record-breaking heatwave in Britain which saw temperatures climb to 30C again yesterday - making it the third successive September day that temperatures soared that high. The mercury plummeted by more than 10C overnight as forecasters issued a string of severe weather warnings. Commuters are now facing transport chaos after the flash flooding caused problems on the nation's roads - including on the M25, M4 and M40 - as well as on the rail network where 'several incidents' are causing delays Four people - two drivers and two passengers, one of whom was pregnant - suffered minor injuries in the crash, which saw the 6.19am service from Milton Keynes derail after hitting the landslide just north of Watford Junction. Another train travelling in the opposite direction 'gave a glancing blow' to the derailed train, Network Rail said. It left the two London Midland trains 'leaning against one another' as emergency crews desperately worked to evacuate the some 400 passengers stuck on board. Around 100,000 could be in line for a refund after the dramatic incident on the early morning service. Any passenger delayed between 30 minutes and one hour on a London Midlands route is eligible to claim 50 per cent of a single ticket or 35 per cent of a return ticket and a proportion of a season ticket. Virgin Trains automatically refund anyone who booked through their website if they are delayed by more than 30 minutes. The train operators will not be footing the bill, however. Owen Johns, spokesman for Network Rail, said: 'Network Rail pays compensation to train operators when delays are caused by infrastructure issues, including weather, landslips, signalling problems and people under trains. 'Although this delay was not caused by Network Rail, anything caused by the weather is a Network Rail issue. We cover delay repayment for anything not caused by the train operators themselves. 'The train companies pay delayed passengers compensation directly but yes, the money comes from us, we pay them back. 'As Network Rail is an external government body, the money does come from the taxpayer.' Jake Steers, who was on board the first train at the time of the landslide, described his relief that they were inside the tunnel at the time - or 'there would have been casualties'. He said: 'We were going through the tunnel, when the first carriage derailed and it all shuddered and the train shook violently. 'I didn't see the landslide as we were in the tunnel, then we crashed into the oncoming train slightly. 'I couldn't see the landslide just felt it hit us. It's quite worrying as I have been doing that commute for two and a half years. It would have a lot worse had we not been in the tunnel - there would have been casualties had they been going full speed.' Both of the London Midland trains involved in the incident are 'still in situ', Network Rail said. Workers are assessing the best way to remove them from the tracks. The passengers were allowed to get off the stricken trains at around 11am - four hours after the initial derailment and collision - and were ferried back to the nearby Kings Langley station in Hertfordshire on a Virgin train which was drafted in to help. Speaking before they were rescued, passengers told of the their ordeal. Chris Robertson said: 'Everyone is fine but we are in a tunnel with limited signal. Don't catch a train to Euston today, the line is shut. 'We hit a landslide and derailed clipping an oncoming train. Emergency services have arrived to get us off but are assessing what to do first.' A Network Rail spokesman said: 'Both trains are still in situ and the rescue train is on route. 'The service that clipped the London Midlands train which derailed was travelling in the opposite direction.' The incident is causing major delays to services in and out of London Euston with most journeys cancelled and those that are going ahead suffering delays of at least 60 minutes. Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, confirmed the 6.19am train hit a landslip caused by torrential rain, resulting in it leaving the tracks a few miles north of Watford. The train remained upright, he added. 'Engineers are on site and train services are now running through the area but it will be some time before a normal timetable resumes,' he said. London Midland tweeted: 'Due to derailment this morning, there will be delays and cancellations. Ticket acceptance in place on other train operating companies.' A spokesman added: 'The 06.19 service from Milton Keynes to Euston derailed just after 7am this morning at a tunnel near Watford Junction. 'It's at the busiest stretch of mixed railway in Europe and we are expecting delays and disruption until at least midday, but possibly longer. It affects London Midlands trains, Virgin and Southern. Services to the midlands, north west and Scotland will be affected.' Initially, all four lines of the West Cost main line were closed at the scene, but two were reopened at around 8am. Mr Frobisher added: 'Our priority is to fully reopen the railway as soon as it is safe to do so. A full investigation into what happened will take place.' Pictures on social media also show severely waterlogged rail stations and roads, including Didcot Parkway, Newbury and Chieveley stations across Oxfordshire - which is causing further misery for rail passengers. Water can be seen rising up stairwells and partly submerging ticket barriers at Didcot Parkway station. Turnpike Lane and Manor House stations on the London Underground's Piccadilly line were closed early this morning but re-opened by around 6.30am, Transport for London (TfL) said. Meanwhile, on the rail network, South West Trains said 'several incidents are disrupting' the network. A spokesman said: 'A lightning strike has caused substantial damage to certain elements of our signalling equipment on the line which runs between Ascot and Guildford via Aldershot. 'Train services running through these stations may be delayed or revised. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.' Flooding has also damaged equipment connected to a level crossing between Dorchester and Bournemouth, meaning they have to be manually controlled, with problems and delays set to go on until around 11am. A 'large amount of infrastructure' at Woking has also been damaged by the water - with disruption and delays expected until the end of the day. Train services are also severely disrupted between Stansted Airport, Cambridge, London Liverpool Street and Stratford. A severely reduced service will run between Hertford East and London Liverpool Street after a lightning strike hit signalling equipment. Abellio Greater Anglia is now advising passengers not to travel. A spokesman said: 'Due to the severity of the disruption [we] are advising you not to travel between Cambridge / Hertford East / Stansted Airport London Liverpool Street / Stratford. Your ticket will be valid on this route tomorrow.' There is also disruption on the London Waterloo to Woking route, due to flooding, and on the Reading to London Paddington line after lightning strikes damaged signalling equipment. Thames Valley Police said there was also disruption on roads with congestion on the M4 at the A34 junction with Newbury and on the M40 throughout the Thames Valley area. Shocking video footage also shows a 'river of water' running down the M25 after it was hit by flash flooding. Cars can be seen driving through the foot-deep floodwater after it engulfed the motorway at J21a near Watford. Many residents took to Twitter during the night to complain about being kept awake by the stormy conditions – which swept in after yet another day of balmy temperatures in the capital. TV presenter Philip Schofield was among those awoken by the loud thunderstorm. He wrote: 'Holy CR*P!!! Thunder nearly blew us out of bed!!', alongside a series of 'laughing and thunderbolt emojis'. Twitter user, Jay Virdee, said: Windsor at 3:45am #thunderstorms #lightning' before sharing a series of lightning bolt pictures. Another added: 'Crazy crazy storm outside right now. It sounds like the end of the world. Never heard anything like it.' The weather front has sent temperatures tumbling ahead of the weekend, just days after parts of the country baked in 34C (93F) heat. Temperatures already dropped by 10C overnight and are expected to stay around 18C today. A yellow warning of rain remains in place for much of England during today, rising to amber along a narrow corridor west of London where 'exceptionally heavy, thundery rain' accompanied by hail is expected. The Environment Agency has also issued a series of flood warnings. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said it had been called to reports of a house struck by lightning near Woking, while crews worked to pump water out of flooded premises across the county. Energy provider SSE said 1,273 homes across Basingstoke, Newbury, Reading and Bournemouth were left without power as a result of lightning. Fire chiefs advised motorists to avoid driving through flooded roads and turn around as pictures emerged of Maidenhead High Street resembling a swimming pool. Met Office meteorologist Martin Combe said 1.3inches (32.8mm) of rain had fallen in just three hours in Farnborough, Hampshire - half the 2.75inches (70mm) average for September. He said: 'The storms are quite slow moving so it means the amounts are starting to build up over time, so we may get higher figures and localised flooding. 'The showers and thunderstorms are going to carry on for quite some time moving slowly north and eastwards, remaining around London through the morning and all afternoon in East Anglia. 'They will eventually clear off to the east, but it will be cool behind them. While it won't be any colder than average it is going to feel a lot cooler than it has been.' Away from the storms, today will be a relatively cool and fresh day for the rest of the country with some sunshine. London is expected to see a high of 21C (70F), Cardiff 18C (64F) and Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast 17C (63F). Saturday and Sunday are expected to be similarly fresh, although a weather front will bring rain for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on Sunday.
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