Severe weather warning: Met Office's amber alert for thunderstorms and heavy rain
The Met Office has issued an amber thunderstorm warning for Monday afternoon and evening, with lightning strikes and possible flooding as a result of more than an inch of rain falling in two hours.
The alert for part of the East of England and South East covers the five-hour period from 4pm to 9pm on Monday (October 14) and was issued just after 1pm. The area covered by the alert is within a larger area that is subject to a yellow warning of rain.
The Essex Weather Centre forecasts that an area of thunderstorms will reach Essex around 6.30pm-7pm.
It says: "The main concern is rainfall amounts (in a short space of time) rather than widespread lightning or hail for our area."
It says that 30-40 millimetres (1.18-1.57 inches) of rain in two hours may lead to surface water flooding.
The Met Office is forecasting a difficult commute home for motorists and train passengers.
It is warning of sudden flooding and spray leading to difficult driving conditions and possible road closures. Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, delays and some cancellations to train and bus services are likely.
It warns that power cuts are likely and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost.
Any flooding of homes and businesses could happen quickly, with possible damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes or strong winds.
More by this authorPaul Winspear