England

Flooding in Kent and Sussex after torrential downpours

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Media captionFootage from Brighton, Haywards Heath and Eastbourne shows many roads turned to rivers

Torrential rain and thunderstorms have caused disruption across south-east England with warnings about further flooding issued.

An earlier amber weather warning from the Met Office has been lifted.

Fire crews in Kent and Sussex were called to several houses struck by lightning during the storms.

Play was suspended at the Women's Ashes Test in Canterbury, and all flying displays were cancelled at the Eastbourne Airbourne airshow.

The amber "be prepared" alert was issued after second bout of stormy downpours. It remained in place until 21:00 BST for Kent, Sussex and parts of south Essex.

A yellow warning of rain for for much of Wales, the Midlands, eastern and southern England remains in place.

Nick Hopwood, the Environment Agency's national duty flood manager, said: "Heavy rainfall this afternoon and into this evening brings risk of further surface water flooding, particularly for parts of Kent and Sussex.

"If you're driving away or back from your summer holidays, as always, please remember not to drive through flood water."

He said the agency was supporting local authorities to respond to any reports of surface water flooding.

Two flood alerts have also been issued by the Environment Agency in Kent - for a part of Romney Marsh and the Upper Stour River around Ashford.

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Image caption Staff had to mop out flood water from the Arndale Centre in Eastbourne
Image caption A house in Hailsham was struck by lightning

In Eastbourne, the Arndale shopping centre was evacuated briefly because of overflowing drains in the High Street and concerns about customers slipping over.

Floods also temporarily disrupted trains between Eastbourne and London, along with services between Lewes and Wivelsfield.

The Met Office said Eastbourne town centre had seen 60mm (2in) of rain since 03:00 BST, with the majority of it falling between 10:00 and midday.

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Image caption The beer cellar at the newly-refurbished Crown and Anchor Inn in Brighton was flooded

It said there was more rainfall in nine hours than the average of 51.6mm for the entire month of August.

Drains were unable to cope with the volume of water and Southern Water had to be called in to prevent homes from flooding.

Brighton was badly affected with the station concourse flooded and reports of water seeping through doorways and surface flooding across the city.

Image caption Motorists in Eastbourne faced flash flooding on the roads
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Image caption A thunderstorm halted play at the Women's Ashes Test at The Spitfire Ground in Canterbury
Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Roads turned into rivers in New Romney

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said crews had been fighting a fire at a house in Hawkins Way, Hailsham, that was struck by lightning. No-one was injured but the property was severely damaged.

In Kent, firefighters were called to a house in Prospect Way, Brabourne Lees, after the ridge of the roof was hit, although there was no fire.

They were also at the scene of a small fire at a house in Singleton Road, Great Chart, also hit by lightning, and responded to flooding in New Romney, Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells.

Rail firm Southeastern said flash flooding in Gillingham disrupted trains between Chatham and Faversham.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Firefighters in Eastbourne have been pumping out water from the basements of buildings
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Image caption Cyclists near Newhaven had to protect themselves from the adverse weather

East Sussex Fire and Rescue said it had taken more than 300 calls between 10:00 and 14:30 BST, with a large number related to flooding.

A spokesman said the calls were limited to damage and there had been no injuries.

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Image caption Drivers on Brighton seafront battled the storms
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Image caption Staff at Brighton Station had to battle with the deluge of water

Motorists across the South East were warned to keep their speeds down amid further downpours and expected flooding.

Lewes District Council has tweeted information about where residents could obtain sandbags.

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