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Storm Aurore: Southern Britain is battered by three inches of rain and 45mph gales

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Parts of Britain were hit by major flooding overnight by heavy rain and strong winds from a storm moving in from France which caused chaos as a mini ‘tornado’ smashed through a housing estate.

The low-pressure system named Storm Aurore barrelled along the English Channel overnight, bringing more than two inches (50mm) of rain and 77mph winds in the worst-affected areas of the south coast and Channel Islands.

The Met Office said the storm dealt a ‘glancing blow’ to southern England, and emergency services were inundated with Essex Fire Service getting more than 120 calls up till 2.30am regarding flood-related incidents.

Flooding caused delays across the rail network this morning between Exeter and Salisbury, and at Belmont in South London – while heavy rain caused a landslip between Crowborough and Uckfield in East Sussex.

Much of the South was under by an ‘amber’ warning for rain into the early hours of this morning, although the the most severe impact of the storm was in northern France – where 105mph was recorded at Fécamp in Normandy

The Met Office said the unsettled weather was likely to continue for the rest of the week in the UK, with showers and breezy conditions across western Scotland and central and northern England and Wales on Friday. 

Storm Aurore has brought major flooding to Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning with parts of the A127 main road closed

Two people walk along Southend seafront in Essex this morning following heavy rain and flooding overnight

Two people walk along Southend seafront in Essex this morning following heavy rain and flooding overnight

A police vehicle at the scene this morning after a car and a motorcycle crashed on the M23 near Pease Pottage in West Sussex

A police vehicle at the scene this morning after a car and a motorcycle crashed on the M23 near Pease Pottage in West Sussex

Police and Highways England traffic offices were called to the M26 in Kent just after 11pm after flooding hit the area

Police and Highways England traffic offices were called to the M26 in Kent just after 11pm after flooding hit the area

Forecasters predict there to be more persistent rain over the weekend, with the heaviest rain expected in western Scotland, where up to 2.4in (60mm) could fall in 24 hours, while Northern Ireland, northern England and Wales could get 0.8in (20mm).

It comes after a mini ‘tornado’ smashed through a housing estate in Widnes, Cheshire yesterday. Footage revealed the damage the windstorm caused as residents tried to clean-up the debris.

And in Scotland there was snowfall in Braemar, a village near Aberdeen which is the third-coldest low-lying settlement in the UK.

One unofficial reading from Wandsworth in southwest London suggested three inches of rain had fallen in one 24-hour period yesterday.

Meanwhile, Police and Highways England were called to the M26 in Kent just after 11pm last night after a number of vehicles became stranded in deep flood water. Police cleared the drains and helped to tow those who had been stranded.

A Met Office spokesman said: ‘The French meteorological service is part of a different storm naming group than the Met Office, which means that the next storm named by either Met Eireann, KNMI or the Met Office, and will be named when more significant impacts are expected in one of those countries.’

Met Office chief operational meteorologist Dan Suri yesterday: ‘The worst weather associated with Aurore will be on its southern flank, over northern France. The northern edge of Aurore will catch southern England, dealing us a glancing blow. 

Britons are waking to a deluge of surface water following a night of torrential rain caused by a storm that was yesterday named Aurore by Météo-France because the biggest impact will be seen in mainland Europe

Britons are waking to a deluge of surface water following a night of torrential rain caused by a storm that was yesterday named Aurore by Météo-France because the biggest impact will be seen in mainland Europe

Britons are expected to wake up to a deluge of surface water following a night of torrential rain caused by a storm that was yesterday named Aurore by Météo-France because the biggest impact will be seen in mainland Europe

Britons are expected to wake up to a deluge of surface water following a night of torrential rain caused by a storm that was yesterday named Aurore by Météo-France because the biggest impact will be seen in mainland Europe

Amber and yellow national severe weather warnings are in place across southern England - where 2.3inches of rain is thought to have fallen in just two to three hours. Pictured, pedestrians shelter under umbrellas in Greenwich, south east London

Amber and yellow national severe weather warnings are in place across southern England – where 2.3inches of rain is thought to have fallen in just two to three hours. Pictured, pedestrians shelter under umbrellas in Greenwich, south east London

A woman shelters under a coat as she runs during heavy rain in Greenwich South East London on Wednesday night

A woman shelters under a coat as she runs during heavy rain in Greenwich South East London on Wednesday night

One unofficial reading from Wandsworth in southwest London suggested three inches of rain had fallen in one 24-hour period yesterday

One unofficial reading from Wandsworth in southwest London suggested three inches of rain had fallen in one 24-hour period yesterday

Police and Highways England were called to the M26 in Kent just after 11pm after a number of vehicle became stranded in deep flood water

Police and Highways England were called to the M26 in Kent just after 11pm after a number of vehicle became stranded in deep flood water

Cars were stranded after floods on the M26 in Kent just after 11pm on Wednesday night

Cars were stranded after floods on the M26 in Kent just after 11pm on Wednesday night 

‘What this means for us is some heavy rain this evening and overnight. The Channel Islands, however, being closer to France, will be more directly in the firing line and experience high winds this evening and overnight.

‘Of course, high winds will also affect the English Channel so marine interests are encouraged to keep abreast of the shipping forecast.’

On the A331 in Surrey one driver flooded their car’s engine on the A331. A van driver then aquaplaned and collided with the car, with a dramatic photograph of the scene showing how the force of the crash tipped it onto one side.

A spokesman for Surrey Police said: ‘Sorry to keep repeating ourselves but drive to the conditions, slow down and increase your stopping distance.’

A car and a motorcycle crashed on the M23 southbound near Pease Pottage last night at 9.10pm. The male rider was taken to hospital with serious injuries

In a video posted on Twitter, uprooted trees, fallen fences and collapsed brick walls were seen beneath the grey skies following a ‘tornado’ in Widnes. Cheshire Constabulary said there were no reported injuries. 

One driver flooded their car's engine in flooding on the A331. The van driver then aquaplaned and collided with the car. A spokesman for Surrey police said: 'Sorry to keep repeating our selves but drive to the conditions, slow down & increase your stopping distance'

One driver flooded their car’s engine in flooding on the A331. The van driver then aquaplaned and collided with the car. A spokesman for Surrey police said: ‘Sorry to keep repeating our selves but drive to the conditions, slow down & increase your stopping distance’

A car and a motorcycle crashed on the M23 southbound near Pease Pottage Wednesday night at 9.10pm. The male rider was taken to hospital with serious injuries

A car and a motorcycle crashed on the M23 southbound near Pease Pottage Wednesday night at 9.10pm. The male rider was taken to hospital with serious injuries

The weather phenomenon caused tress to become uprooted and fences to collapse in the cul-de-sac

The weather phenomenon caused tress to become uprooted and fences to collapse in the cul-de-sac

The town of Widnes was 'devastated' by a mini tornado on Wednesday afternoon, as residents clean up the debris

The town of Widnes was ‘devastated’ by a mini tornado on Wednesday afternoon, as residents clean up the debris

Like much of the country, the northwest town has been subject to gale-force winds and torrential rain

Like much of the country, the northwest town has been subject to gale-force winds and torrential rain

Tornado reports in the UK tend to be mainly in summer and autumn and are usually relatively narrow and short-lived affairs

Tornado reports in the UK tend to be mainly in summer and autumn and are usually relatively narrow and short-lived affairs

A number of road closures are in place including Camberwell Road (pictured) at the junction of Moorfield in Widnes, Cheshire

A number of road closures are in place including Camberwell Road (pictured) at the junction of Moorfield in Widnes, Cheshire

Tornadoes are not uncommon in the UK and we get around 35 per year, though numbers can vary from year-to-year

Tornadoes are not uncommon in the UK and we get around 35 per year, though numbers can vary from year-to-year

BBC weather forecaster Simon King tweeted similar video footage of the aftermath of the suspected windstorm

BBC weather forecaster Simon King tweeted similar video footage of the aftermath of the suspected windstorm

A spokesman said: ‘At 12.25pm on Wednesday October 20 police received reports of a mini tornado in the Widnes area. The damage includes a wall falling down, windows of cars smashed and debris on Camberwell Road.

‘A number of road closures are in place including Camberwell Road at the junction of Moorfield. Damage has also occurred to the garage of a property on Kensington Close.’

A Met Office spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The weather set-up in the area means that a tornado was possible around midday today in Widnes, although without clear footage of the event it’s difficult to confirm whether the damaging winds were from a tornado or not.’

BBC weather forecaster Simon King tweeted a similar video footage of the aftermath of the suspected windstorm saying: ‘Looking at the damage, it’s likely there was a tornado in Widnes this afternoon.’

According to the Met Office tornadoes are not uncommon in the UK and there are on average, around 35 per year, though numbers can vary markedly from year-to-year.

Reports of tornadoes in the UK are mainly in summer and autumn and are usually relatively narrow and short-lived affairs, typically lasting for only a few minutes and with tracks no more than a few kilometres long and a diameter of less than 100-200 metres.

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