Torrential rain, hail and lightning hits parts of the UK

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Torrential rain, hail and lightning has struck the UK, with downpours set to continue for the rest of the week.

Widespread rainfall, hailstones and even lightning were seen across the country on Wednesday.

Political party leaders braved the wet weather as they pushed for votes across towns in England ahead of Thursday’s local elections.

Conditions were damp in Birmingham as Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer visited the city to campaign alongside West Midlands metro mayor candidate Liam Byrne and Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner.

Regional mayoral elections
Politicians braved the wet weather to campaign ahead of the local elections (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Hail could even cause disruption to roads and public transport, it is warned.

Temperatures are also set to plummet to lows of minus 5C in the coldest spots overnight, with a chilly day for many on Thursday.

Alex Burkill, a Met Office forecaster, told the PA news agency: “Wednesday has been a showery day across the UK, with downpours of heavy rain and hail and even some thunder and lightning.

“The east coast of England, including parts of London, central England, Scotland and some areas in Wales were affected, but this should die out in most places by the evening, before it turns quite cold overnight.

“The coldest spots could see temperatures as low as minus 5C, particularly in the north of England and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“For the rest of the week, rainfall will be rather hefty in some places, with as much as 5-10mm falling in just an hour in the worst-affected spots.

“A significant amount of hail could potentially cause some disruption to roads and public transport.”

Hail fell in West Kirby, Wirral, on Wednesday (Alex Clerc/PA)

He continued: “Most areas will be affected by heavy and persistent rain and strong winds over the weekend.

“Sunday should be drier for most, with some showers in places, but in the south-east of England, temperatures could climb into the low twenties by the afternoon.

“People should make the most of any dry or sunny spots, as it is unlikely to last and the rest of May will be unsettled and changeable for everyone.”

The Met Office has put this down to an area of low pressure and a jet stream above the UK, causing unsettled, wetter and cooler conditions.

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