UNITED KINGDOM: A lightning strike caused the roof to collapse and flames to spread through two semi-detached houses in Andover, Hampshire on Saturday morning. Several weather warnings were in place as the heatwaves ended with thunderstorms and torrential rain.
A 70-year-old woman was assessed by paramedics but did not require hospital treatment after the strike severely damaged the pair of houses in Andover. Two women escaped unharmed in the incident.
The Met Office issued a yellow alert for storms and warned of flooding, hail and 55mph gusts of wind in southern England and Wales.
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Neighbour Barrie Austen, 79, told the PA news agency: “There was this enormous bang, it was obviously the lightning, I think it woke the rest of the street up.
“I saw the flickering and when I looked out I saw the roof of the semi-detached house completely ablaze and it had completely gone.
“The side that supports the roof, that collapsed as well and then the flames spread into next door.”
Austen said two sisters lived at the property, adding that a 70-year-old resident who was attended by paramedics “seemed shaken but OK”.
The incident came after days of extreme heat, while many set off on summer holidays.
While Northern Ireland and western Scotland saw sunshine and temperatures approaching 28C on Saturday, it was a wet and stormy start for many in the south of England. A thunderstorm warning covering southern England and Wales was in place until 10 pm on Saturday, which could lead to heavy rains causing disruption and flooding.
A second yellow warning for thunderstorms was in place on Sunday covering most of southern England, areas of central England and southeast Wales.
Forecasters said the unsettled weather looks set to continue early next week, with more persistent rain expected across the U.K.
Met Office principal operational meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “This more unsettled weather brings a risk of torrential downpours and flooding in some places.”
The country reached its hottest temperature of the year on Tuesday last week – 32.2C was recorded at Heathrow Airport in west London. In the same week, the Met Office issued its first extreme heat warning for areas of the U.K.