Blowtorch temperatures will break this weekend unleashing 48 hours of torrential downpours, hail, lightning and even tornado strikes. Copious energy ploughed into the atmosphere during the heatwave will supercharge a storm sweeping in from the Bay of Biscay. The “big event” is forecast to rumble into action tonight and during the early hours of Saturday kick-starting a two-day blitz.
Jim Dale, forecaster for British Weather Services, said: “Things are about to go bang.
“A low-pressure system coming in from the Bay of Biscay will arrive as we go into the weekend laden with humidity.
“There is also a huge amount of energy stored in the atmosphere from the recent hot weather.
“The release of this atmospheric energy together with this low pressure will drive heavy rain, gusty winds and thunderstorms.”
Blazing sunshine and baking ground temperatures have thrust into the atmosphere the energy equivalent of several atomic bombs.
LIVE UPDATES: ‘Torrential’ rain and lightning to blitz nation
Mr Dale said: “This comparison is pretty accurate given the extreme temperatures and the fact that the ground has been heating up over the past few days.
“This energy has made the atmosphere very volatile and unstable and will be another driver for thunderstorm activity over the weekend.
“While thunderstorms are difficult to pin down precisely in terms of exact timings and location, we expect the main event to be this weekend, probably starting to get going into Saturday from the south.
“Walkers, climbers and others planning to be out in the open should be careful as there will be a risk of heavy downpours, lightning and tornados in parts of the country.
“But it will be a case of watch this space for when and where this happens.”
Government meteorologists have issued warnings torrents of rain, flash flooding, power cuts and travel chaos.
The Met Office alert across southern and central England remains in force until Monday morning with up to four inches likely to drench the region.
Met Office deputy chief operational meteorologist David Oliver said storms will arrive as temperatures fall over the weekend.
He said: “This yellow rain warning comes as temperatures are set to dip for many areas over the weekend.
“A spell of rain, heavy in places perhaps with some thunder, moves in from the southwest late on Friday and into Saturday.
“This is followed up by an unsettled weekend for much of England and Wales with showers breaking out widely.
“Some very heavy showers or thunderstorms are on the cards, especially during Sunday.”
Temperatures will hover in the low- to mid-20Cs with a fresher picture than of late on the cards next week, according to The Weather Company (IBM).
A spokesman said: “Highs on Saturday will be back to low- to mid- 20Cs for most but it will feel humid in the south.
“Wet weather will extend across all regions on Sunday, again with the risk of some heavy thundery downpours in the south.
“It will be much fresher next week with sunshine and showers and temperatures back to average to slightly below.”