Warning of more UK floods after helicopter rescues in Cornwall

Flooding in Cornish coastal village of Coverack described as horrendous, and further deluges possible further north

Much of England and Wales has been warned to prepare for more stormy weather and localised flooding after several people in Cornwall had to be rescued from flash floods overnight.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms caused “devastating” flooding in the coastal village of Coverack in Cornwall on Tuesday, with about 50 homes and businesses affected. Met Office forecasters put in place a yellow warning, the lowest of the three weather warnings, for most of the rest of Wednesday and said that as much as two-thirds of a month’s average rainfall could come down in a few hours.

After Tuesday night’s thunderstorms, they said that “further, possibly severe storms may break out again this afternoon, probably focused over parts of north-east Wales, central and northern England”.

Forecasters added that, while some parts of England and Wales would escape the thunderstorms, there was a “chance of localised sudden flooding of homes, businesses and roads” in others. “Frequent lightning and large hail may be additional hazards, the latter bringing potential for disruption to power networks.”

The Met Office said the rainfall could reach 30mm in an hour in some places and more than 50mm in a two- or three-hour period. The average for the UK for the whole of July is 78.1mm.

A coastguard helicopter rescued two people in Coverack, and one witness described the flooding as “quite horrendous”. Residents and business owners were told that council financial reserves would be used to help fund repairs.

Adam Paynter, the leader of Cornwall council, told BBC Radio Cornwall: “With things like this, money won’t be a problem – we do have reserves we can use for this type of incident.

“It’s been absolutely unbelievable to see. I think it’s going to take a little while to get this sorted out and tidied up but obviously the main thing is that nobody’s been injured and everybody is OK in the village.

“The council and the emergency services have done a great job. They’ve been here all night to ensure that everybody is safe and they are doing what they can to make sure everything can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

The Cornwall fire and rescue service said crews remained in Coverack on Wednesday morning. “It is expected that the fire service will remain in attendance until midday, assisting the community,” it said.

The Midlands and the east of England could experience downpours on Wednesday morning, while north-east Wales and the north-west would bear the brunt this afternoon, Steven Keates from the Met Office said.

He said the thunderstorms would be “hit and miss” and that the showers should move through the country relatively quickly.

After a warm night, it was expected to remain hot on Wednesday for parts of eastern England, with temperatures in the low 30s celsius, Keates added.

Water had to be pumped out of some properties in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, the fire service said, after it received more than 60 999 calls in an hour. Crews from Kent fire and rescue service went out but, despite two of the calls stating that people were trapped inside properties, no rescues were needed.