Thunder warning as heatwave eases

By Connor Steel

THUNDERSTORMS look likely to hit Gosport and Fareham this week following yet another heatwave, with the Met Office issuing their yellow weather alert for potential disruption across the entire Hampshire region starting on Monday morning at midnight. It looks set to last until 11:59pm on Wednesday (August 17), with cooler weather and forecast rain offering some respite from recent humid and record breaking temperatures.

Official warnings state that spray and sudden flooding may lead to difficult driving conditions with some road closures, as well as the potential that homes and businesses could flood quickly. Other key guidance include damage to buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds; alongside large-scale power cuts that may cause disruption to many essential services for businesses and homes throughout the three days.

According to current forecasts it will stay dry with sunny spells in both Gosport and Fareham until the earlier hours of Wednesday with light showers forecast. But meteorologist Dan Stroud said this could cause issues, stating: “There is a risk of flash floods as the ground is baked so dry that if we get heavy showers it just won’t be able to soak it up very quickly & will run off. This can lead to flash flooding & surface water on the roads.”

The latest warning comes after the Met Office’s ‘amber’ warning for extreme heat expired at exactly 11:59pm on Sunday evening, ending four days of temperatures hovering around thirty degrees Celsius across the two local boroughs. Just after 11am on Saturday a report from Sky News recorded temperatures of 28.7 degrees from Gosport, Fleetlands; which was the hottest registered figure nationwide before it was quickly overtaken.

But despite only lasting four days this heatwave joins one back in July that saw temperatures reach a high of 40 degrees for the first time ever in Britain alongside a maiden ‘red’ danger to life alert from the Met Office. It lasted for five full days and included declarations of a ‘national emergency’, with grassfires affecting multiple areas including Alver Valley. Nationally 13 deaths were recorded including heat strokes and many drownings.

Combining humid temperatures with below-average rainfall for five successive months, rivers and lakes are quickly running dry with large acres of grass now straw coloured due to a lack of water. This has all led to an official drought announcement on Friday covering eight areas across the county; which includes Gosport and Fareham who fall into the “Solent & South Downs” region as currently outlined by the Environment Agency.

This status means that support will be offered to farmers including managing water availability and that water companies are following pre-prepared ‘drought plans’. Similar measures include the re-oxygenating of water and rescuing of fish in low river flows, alongside help to nationwide Fire and Recue Services dealing with all waste fires and wildfires associated to the dry ground as the above-average summer temperatures continue.

Hosepipe bans remain an option and have been implemented across the country, with Gosport and Fareham not currently affected. This appears likely to remain as Portsmouth Water stated its intention not to introduce restrictions, with further updates available on their official website and within media breaking news sources. A range of further details about the Met Office and changes to warnings can be found via this accessible link.

PICTURED BY ALAMY STOCK PHOTOS (2CNDDYG): Thunder warning is issued by the Met Office for the Hampshire including Gosport and Fareham boroughs after four days of extreme heat (photo licence gained).