Storm Aurore: Flood warnings issued and Thames Barrier closed in wake of bad weather

A van drives through flood water on a road in Lingfield, Surrey
A van drives through flood water on a road in Lingfield, Surrey

Emergency services said they had received reports of flooding after southern England was hit by a storm moving in from France.

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Parts of the country have been told to expect flooding after torrential downpours across the UK.

Heavy rain fell on Wednesday night and into the early hours of Thursday, prompting the Environment Agency to issue 51 flood warnings.

Emergency services said they had received reports of flooding after southern England was hit by a storm moving in from France.

The warnings have been put in place along the east and south coasts of England, with residents told to “act now” and move vehicles to a higher land level, put important items upstairs and erect property protection barriers.

The Environment Agency said the Thames Barrier has been closed to protect London from flooding.

It said the move will protect the capital “from a high tide as a result of low pressure and northerly winds coinciding with spring tides”.

The barrier will be closed until 6pm on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “While the barrier will help to protect London from tidal flooding, there are also risks from coastal flooding along the east coast on Thursday and Friday.

“Heavy rain also means that there is a separate but concurrent risk of river flooding across the south of England.”

The wet weather came on Wednesday night as a low-pressure system named Storm Aurore moved in from France, bringing up to 50mm of rain and 45mph gusts.

Essex Fire Service said it had received more than 120 calls up until 2.30am on Thursday regarding flood-related incidents.

A Met Office yellow weather warning was in place until 3am on Thursday.

Its forecast said Thursday would be “a much colder day with a band of rain across central and south-western parts clearing south-east in the morning”.

It said showers would then mainly affect western and northern areas, and they could turn wintry over some northern hills.

Gales are forecast near North Sea coasts.

Thursday night will see “showers for northern and western areas, whilst eastern and southern areas will have fewer showers and more in the way of clear spells, remaining breezy”, the Met Office added.