Traffic disruption set to ease and skies to clear after heavy rain

Flooded road in Billericay, Essex, Image copyright PA
Image caption Motorists in some parts of Essex were caught out by the floods

Weather conditions in south-east England will be brighter and disruption for commuters is expected to ease after the area was battered by severe rain.

However, 16 Environment Agency flood warnings remain in place - meaning further flooding is expected.

Hundreds of commuters faced long delays on Thursday as heavy rain fell, forcing some people to flee their homes and polling stations to close.

The Met Office said the fairer weather on Friday would be a "welcome relief".

In other developments:

  • Network Rail said trains would now be able to run normally between Clapham Junction/London Euston and Milton Keynes Central
  • Rail lines at Watford Junction are also now open following the bad weather
  • A signalling problem in West Hampstead has been resolved and trains are now able to run between London St Pancras and Bedford
  • All lines affected by the flooding on London Underground have reopened
  • Several lines have now cleared for South West Trains but there is "major disruption" on some southeastern services
  • The Gatwick Express service is currently warning of further disruption

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "The skies are clearing now, and the South East is in the clear."

He said Friday would be a drier day for the area with temperatures reaching 22 degrees, and the weather forecasters issued no warnings for rain.

Emergency calls

Thursday's flooding caused major disruption across south-east England and East Anglia on EU referendum day, and some polling stations were forced to close with at least one count delayed.

Some voters were forced to wade through water to cast their vote.

Kingston upon Thames Council in south-west London moved two voting locations, and a polling station in Barking and Dagenham, east London, was shut because of a burst water main.

Barking and Dagenham Council apologised to voters and said it had been relocated to two sites within walking distance.

Out of 3,754 polling stations in the capital, five opened late, London Councils said.

Meanwhile, London Fire Brigade said it had taken more than 550 weather-related emergency calls and attended over 400 incidents caused by heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Some people in Barking had to be rescued from their homes by London Fire Brigade crews using boats.

Image copyright Paul Wood
Image caption Fire brigade crews had to rescue Barking residents by boat

In Romford, a couple who are set to become first-time parents were forced out of their ground-floor flat after water began "pouring" into the building.

David Sandor and his wife Lidia, who is eight months pregnant, said they would not be able to return to their home for two months because of the damage.

There were also reports of torrential rain causing severe disruption in Norfolk, where the fire service received more than 150 emergency calls in a period of two hours.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Sarah Campbell joins Romford resident Kim Cook as she returns to her mother's flooded home

UK Power Networks said electrical equipment became submerged in the floods, causing power cuts across the region.

Image copyright PA
Image caption After Thursday's downpours better weather is forecast for Friday, the Met Office said
Image caption Amid the bad weather, a bus and a fire engine collided in Brixton injuring seven people, three of whom were taken to hospital

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