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Three million homes at risk of flooding in UK as heatwave subsides with thunderstorms

A man attempts to take a picture of the heavy rain in Greenwich Park, south east London, the UK, on August 16, 2022.

The United Kingdom is on high alert for flash flooding as the subsiding heatwave paves way for torrential rains and thunderstorms, reports said.

In a bulletin on Tuesday, the Met Office, UK's national weather service, warned of an “incredible deluge” that could put three million homes at the risk of flooding this week besides causing travel disruptions.

It instructed households to pack “grab bags” containing mobile phones, insurance documents and emergency cash, as the country braces for traffic chaos and power cuts due to the flooding in coming days.

The Met Office's yellow thunderstorm alert for most of the country is due to stay in place across the South of England on Wednesday.

According to the weather warnings issued by the Met Office, the rains and  thunderstorms that began on Sunday will continue until Wednesday, bringing a turbulent end to one of the driest heatwaves on record.

The country has been battling an unprecedented drought that has hit vast swathes of England, following the driest July in the UK since 1935.

The drought was accompanied by a four-day “extreme heat” this week, with temperatures climbing to 36C in parts of the country on Sunday.

Christine Colvin from the Rivers Trust NGO said there is a risk that Britons will not take the drought seriously in the coming days.

“We want people to keep this rainfall event in context and as part of the bigger picture,” Colvin said, adding that “just because it rains, it doesn't mean the drought is over.”

Parts of Devon and Cornwall in southwestern England have been flooded, causing roads to be submerged in water.

Flood warnings have also been issued for parts of west London, prompting people to take emergency measures for the the upcoming crisis.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he has “written to tens of thousands of Londoners who live in homes that could be affected by flash flooding,” calling on them to contact Floodline, or reach their local authority's website order to “minimize the consequences” of floods on them.

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