A WEATHER warning for heavy rain was issued for Yorkshire as lightning and thunderstorms battered the county after a day of searing heat.
It was a case of two seasons in one day across much of the region as the hottest day of the year came to an end with torrential rain and spectacular lightning storms in the night sky.
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For much of the day the county was bathed in sunshine with temperatures said to have been as hot as they have been in September since 1911.
But by early evening there was a North/South divide emerging in the country’s fortunes.
While the South soaked up the sun parts of the North were being blighted by torrential downpours as storms hit by the late afternoon. The Met Office issued a yellow warning for rain for the North West, North East, Yorkshire and into parts of Scotland saying the deluge could cause flash flooding and travel disruption.
Downpours were experienced across West and South Yorkshire last night as lightning lit up the night sky.
A tree came down during the storms blocking the road at Long Lane, Sheffield, near Hillsborough Golf Club.
It was a very different picture earlier in the day as sun seekers made the most of the sunny weather. According to the Met Office, yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far and with the highest top temperature in September for more than 100 years. It meant the country was hotter than Bangkok in Thailand, the party island of Ibiza and the city of Marrakesh, in Morocco.
The balmy conditions brought out the crowds at the Hathersage outdoor swimming pool in the Peak District, which took in some 400 people, mostly seniors, students and parents with young children despite only opening until 2pm.
Assistant manager George Foy said: “Tomorrow we will have a longer day so it will be the same again. You would expect May and June to be quite nice but September, for the last few years, has been mild and dry.
“A prime example is that the pool always closes down at the end of September but recently we were able to open until the end of October because of the mild weather we are getting.”
According to Professor Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at Leeds University, the UK is generally getting warmer as a result of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this is leading to more frequent heatwaves like those seen this week.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “The rainfall story is more complex – winters are getting warmer and wetter but the jury is still out on whether our summers will be wetter or drier. A lot of us are enjoying today – but we need to remember that heatwaves are killers. The 2003 summer heatwave killed over 20,000 people across Europe. From heat stress and air pollution. Today’s heatwave is a one-in-50 year event. But in 20 years time every September can be expected to have days like this and hotter. We need to be better equipped to cope with them – improving our houses and town and cities. Removing non-electric cars and trucks from our city centres and planting tree- lined avenues would be a great way to start.”
Met Office figures present a mixed picture about September temperatures over the years. The mean maximum temperature over the month since the turn of the century has risen to around 17C (62.6F), a full degree higher than that seen in the 1970s and 80s.
In the last four years, the mean maximum temperature has fluctuated between 15.9C and 18.2C for the month.
The Met Office declared a Level 2 heat-health alert on Monday morning – which means there is a high chance that temperatures will hit certain temperature thresholds for at least two days and the intervening night.
Sheffield faced up to a torrential downpour early in the evening, with the rain affecting the pre-match build-up to Sheffield Wednesday’s match against Bristol City at Hillsborough.Meteorologist Mark Wilson said “there has been a lot of rain in a very short space of time” in the North West - along with “a lot” of thunder and lightning.
“Prestbury has had 32.4mm of rain in an hour - which is pretty exceptional,” he added. “The warning we put out does talk about the risk of up to 30mm in an hour.
“There are some torrential downpours passing through parts of the country at the moment but they will ease probably in the next two hours.”
Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Borussia Monchengladbach has been postponed - with pictures showing huge amounts of water on the pitch.
A tweet from the club’s official account said: “It is absolutely belting down at the Etihad!”
Mr Wilson said the band of rain and thunderstorms looks set to push eastwards into Yorkshire and up to Scotland over the course of the night.
He said a perfect combination of elements, including warm humid air, has caused the heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Images of flooding in the deluge hit region of the North West have since been posted on social media sites.
One of the busy shopping area of Market Street in central Manchester appeared to show a large amount of water lapping up the side of a tram stop, in another cars were driving through huge puddles on roads, and a video appeared to show water cascading down an escalator at Manchester Piccadilly train station.
With the excess water causing chaos, Northern Rail also announced that “due to flooding between Todmorden and Blackburn all lines are blocked”.
And on the M56 eastbound, Highways England said one lane was closed between junction three and one due to flooding.
Manchester Airport also tweeted saying: “The adverse weather continues to affect flights. Please contact your airlines for specific inquiries.”
Chaos also ensued on the Manchester Metrolink network with various lines suspended throughout the evening as the rain fell on the region. In a tweet the travel company provider said the weather affected their “comms, substations and trams”.
Elsewhere in the country, West Midlands Fire Service said it was called to three different houses affected by lightning, and in Cornwall and Devon the heavy downpours also caused flooding in parts.