Weather tracker: parched eastern England gets a burst of rain | Environment

For some parts of central and eastern England that have not seen appreciable rainfall for several weeks, there was a change of fortunes on Thursday as heavy rain and thunderstorms developed. Over a wide area across the east Midlands, East Anglia and south-east England, 20-30mm of rain was recorded during Thursday morning, which is between a third and a half of what we would normally expect in the month of August.

Across parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and London, as much as 60-80mm of rain fell, and in some cases more than 50mm fell in the space of an hour. This brought some localised flooding, partly owing to the very dry ground conditions that allowed water to run off very quickly. There were also thousands of lightning strikes across the region, particularly during the early morning.

Despite the heavy rainfall on Thursday, many more significant rain events will be required before groundwater levels are restored to normal conditions, and a lot of dry weather is forecast over the next few days.

Meanwhile, torrential downpours have continued to bring widespread and severe flooding to parts of Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan over the past few days. During the weekend, an estimated nine deaths were reported south of Kabul in Logar province, while up to 40 people were reported to have died due to flooding in bordering Pakistan.

As the clean-up operation begins, it has been reported that more than 900 people have died due to monsoon rains in Pakistan since June, and thousands more have been displaced by mandatory evacuations as flood waters rise.

Although the monsoon is a seasonal weather phenomenon that historically has brought severe flooding, the intensity and frequency of downpours has increased in recent times, which is believed to be linked to climate breakdown.

Parts of China have endured months of excessive heat this summer, making it the worst heatwave since records began in China nearly 60 years ago. Maximum temperatures over the last few days in south-western provinces have continued to reach into the high 30s or low 40s Celsius, with overnight minimum temperatures not dropping below the high 20s in places.

Scientists believe that the heatwave in China this year may rank as the worst anywhere in the world in recorded history.

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