Heavy rain: Transport disruption continues

Langley First School in Whitley Bay was one of dozens affected by flooding. Video by James Mitchinson

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Flood disruption to transport, power supplies and schools has continued, as it was revealed 2012 has had the UK's wettest recorded April-June quarter.

The West Coast mainline between England and Scotland was closed for a second time, and thousands in north-east England have no power.

The Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland were deluged on Thursday, and a man died in a swollen stream.

Even without the latest storms, this is the second wettest June since 1910.

Up to 27 June, total UK rainfall was 130.1mm - just 6mm short of the 2007 record.

It is already the wettest June on record for Wales, with 186.3mm of rain this month, compared with the previous record of 183.1mm set in 1998.

The BBC Weather centre confirmed it has been the wettest April to June in the UK since 1910.

Polly Chancellor, the Environment Agency's national drought co-ordinator, said it meant that river and reservoir levels across England and Wales are now normal or above for the time of year.

The BBC's Danny Savage says a tornado was seen "sweeping across fields"

As a result of Thursday's torrential rain, all East Coast rail services were suspended between Newcastle and Edinburgh from Thursday evening until about midday on Friday after 40 tonnes of earth fell onto the line.

Network Rail had said the section of track was unlikely to reopen before Saturday morning, but an hourly service has now resumed. A near-normal service is expected to operate between London and Leeds, and London and Newcastle.

Hundreds of engineers will be working throughout the weekend to repair areas of the track beds which were been torn away by floods at Haltwhistle on the Newcastle to Carlisle route and Scremerston on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between Newcastle and Berwick.

The West Coast mainline between Scotland and England, which was closed in both directions because of damage to overhead power lines between Lockerbie and Carstairs, is moving again - but delays are still expected.

Services on the line were also suspended for several hours on Thursday night, with one journey for London to Glasgow passengers taking 15 hours.

First TransPennine Express and Virgin Trains are running their scheduled West Coast services on Friday, but long queues have been reported at Glasgow Central Station.

In County Durham, a number of landslips on roads mean temporary traffic control measures are in place, but by the end of the day all routes should be passable with care.

Elsewhere:

  • West Mercia Police say the man found dead in a stream at Bitterley, near Ludlow, Shropshire, on Thursday is believed to have been in his 60s
  • A 24-wagon train came off the tracks near Tulloch, blocking the West Highland line between Crianlarich and Mallaig into Friday morning
  • Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service say they received more than 1,500 calls on Thursday night
  • About 2,500 properties in north-east England were still without power from Thursday night while a further 2,700 lost power in the Consett area because of a lightning strike on Friday, according to Northern Powergrid
  • Buses were still replacing trains on part of the Tyne and Wear Metro network on Friday
  • More than 40 schools remain closed in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham, including the 500-year-old Royal Grammar School in Newcastle
  • Families hit by severe flooding in and around Belfast on Wednesday have been told it could be months before their homes are habitable again
  • Coventry's Godiva music festival, which was expected to attract 100,000 people to the city's Memorial Park, has been called off, but organisers say the Olympic torch event due to take place there on Sunday night will go ahead

Laura Gilchrist, a BBC weather centre forecaster, said most of the areas worst hit by wet weather on Thursday were unlikely to be badly affected on Friday.

But she said heavy rain was likely in the north-west Highlands, which could cause disruption there.

The freight train came off the track in a remote part of the Highlands

On Thursday, North Tyneside Council said it had received more than 200 reports of flood-related incidents and flooding had prompted the evacuation of homes and the closure of at least eight schools.

A spokesman for Nexus, which operates the Tyne and Wear Metro, said a 100-metre stretch of wall fell onto one part of the track on Thursday evening.

"At one stage we had our workers clearing debris with their bare hands - they made astonishing progress," he added.

Power company Northern Powergrid struggled to help customers cut off from supplies.

Spokesman Roderick Stuart said: "The problem last night was that many of our substations quite literally got flooded. The rain was so torrential, the sheer amount of water was just flooding our equipment.

Giant hailstones

"And it was getting engineers to that equipment to fix it that was the initial problem. Also the roads around Tyne and Wear were completely gridlocked and our engineers were in the thick of it, they just couldn't get to the places affected."

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The flooding began with downpours in Northern Ireland on Wednesday night where many roads became impassable and about 1,000 homes were left without power.

An inch of rain (25mm) then fell in parts of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Birmingham and the Black Country, in just two hours on Thursday.

There were also reports of hailstones the size of golf balls falling in the East Midlands.

And some Olympic torch bearers taking part in the relay from Lincoln to Nottingham were transported in vehicles because of lightning.

Despite the recent wet weather, four water companies, Sutton and East Surrey Water, South East Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water South East still have hosepipe bans in place - they rely heavily on groundwater from chalk aquifers for customer supplies,

Elsewhere, levels at all but three reservoirs are classed as normal or higher for this time of year, while groundwater levels are largely improving after two dry winters in a row left much of England in drought conditions.

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UK forecast for 25/10/2014

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