A woman shields from rain on Oxford Street in London

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EPA

Thunderstorms are moving across parts of the UK, after some areas saw the longest stretch of high temperatures since the 1960s.

The severe weather caused flash floods in parts of southern England on Thursday, bringing travel disruption.

The Met Office has issued yellow thunderstorm warnings for the next five days in much of England and Wales, with flooding, lightning and hail expected.

It comes after torrential rain and lightning lashed parts of Scotland.

A yellow thunderstorm warning covering all of Wales, southern England and areas in the North West and Midlands is in place until midnight on Thursday.

The Met Office has warned that while some areas could stay dry, others could see as much as 40mm of rain falling in less than an hour amid severe thunderstorms.

There were thundery showers across southern England on Thursday afternoon, including the counties between Devon and Kent.

BBC Weather said about 12,000 lightning strikes were detected across parts of southern Britain in the hours leading up to 18:00 BST.

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Martin Anderson/PA Media

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Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire saw flooding earlier this week

In Devon, homes were flooded following a collection of thunderstorms across south-west England on Thursday.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said on Twitter it had received numerous calls relating to properties in Devon, with some residents reporting up to 18 inches of water inside their homes.

The Environment Agency has issued flood alerts for certain areas in England and Scotland, which are separate from the weather warnings issued by the Met Office.

Thursday’s heavy downpours also sparked travel disruption on rail and roads in southern England.

There are closures in both directions on the M25 between junctions six and nine in Surrey due to flooding, according to Highways England. The M23 southbound is also closed between junctions seven and eight.

Motorists have been urged to allow additional time for journeys, as the disruption has caused delays of more than one hour and about 12 miles of congestion.

One motorist reported “biblical” rain and hail on the M25 near junction seven, as he shared a video of the flooding.

Network Rail has warned of disruption across the entire Southern and Thameslink networks until 22:00 BST – due to severe weather conditions.

It said reports of a landslip in the Merstham area in Surrey had closed the railway line via Redhill between East Croydon and Gatwick. Flooding has also shut the railway between Tattenham Corner in Surrey and Coulsdon Town in Croydon.

Meanwhile, heavy rain flooding the railway earlier on Thursday at Feniton, east Devon, is causing disruption on South Western Railway between Yeovil Junction and Exeter St Davids. Network Rail said disruption is expected until 18:00 BST.

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PA Media

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Temperatures reached highs of 29C on Thursday, marking the first time the mercury remained below 30C in seven days

Forecasters have warned severe thunderstorms could continue to bring flooding and disruption into next week.

Met Office meteorologist Matthew Box said there was a risk of thunderstorms “right through to the start of next week, and maybe even beyond that”.

But he added that temperatures were cooler on Thursday, following days of scorching weather in parts of the UK.

A high of 29.6C (85.3F) was recorded in the village of Frittenden in Kent, Mr Box said.

It comes after temperatures surpassed 34C in central London for the sixth day in a row on Wednesday – the first time that has happened since at least 1961.

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Media captionCaught on camera: Lightning strikes house in Wrexham

Skies across the UK were lit up by lightning as thunderstorms hit on Wednesday evening, following the week of hot weather.

Lightning struck a house in Wrexham, blowing out power sockets and setting fire to a curtain.

Fire crews were also called to deal with flooding incidents around Wrexham, as well as other parts of Wales including Denbighshire and Powys.

Several other places have recorded heavy downpours over the past 24 hours, such as Gnosall, West Midlands, which recorded 103.8mm of rain – over a month’s worth – in one night, according to BBC Weather.

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Media captionAerial footage shows the passenger train derailment in Aberdeenshire

On Wednesday, three people died after a passenger train derailed near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. It is thought the train hit a landslide after heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said extreme weather “had an impact” on the accident.

A major incident was also declared in Fife. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it received more than 1,000 emergency calls on Tuesday night due to the severe weather.

The Environment Agency said 10 properties in Lancashire were also affected by flooding following storms.

Meanwhile, Devon and Cornwall Police warned the south west of England is “full to capacity”, leading to “unprecedented demand” for 999 services.

The force said it saw an increase in anti-social behaviour and public order offences on Saturday and Sunday.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said the weekend’s events, spurred on by the hot weather, had forced officers to attend a “plethora of different incidents”.

And in Sussex, more homeowners had water supplies cut off or restricted on Wednesday. At least 300 householders had already been without tap water since Friday.

Steve Andrews, head of central operations for South East Water, said more than 150 million litres of extra water were being pumped into the network as the UK heatwave continues.

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