UK & World News
Flood Warnings As Downpours Hit The UK
The Met Office has issued widespread amber flood warnings for Britain as it is hit by a heavy deluge of rain - just weeks after it basked in sunshine.
Forecasters said there would be heavy and locally thundery downpours as the bands of rain sweep in from the Continent.
The Met Office warned: "The rain will be accompanied by strong and gusty southeasterly winds.
"The public should be aware that heavy rain may lead to localised surface water flooding and poor driving conditions."
According to the Met Office, areas at risk of flooding include the South East, South West, Midlands and broad areas of Scotland and Wales.
Ireland is also expected to be hit hard, with flash flooding expected along the east of the country.
Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: "Although the weather has been much more unsettled over the past two or three weeks, Wednesday could be the wettest day with widespread rain as the low spreads north.
"The average rainfall for the whole of April is around 50 to 60mm and just today some parts could see that much."
Lang added: "The Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency are monitoring the situation closely as some high rainfall totals are expected."
The drenching comes just weeks after Britain basked in an extended period of unusually warm weather and drought warnings spread across England.
Successive records were broken in March as temperatures topped those in the Mediterranean.
The drenching is also in stark contrast to the weather in April 2011.
"Last year we were basking in sunshine and warmth. Those preparing to exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show were trying desperately to hold back plant growth and there were growing concerns of a drought," Lang said.
Although parched areas are expected to receive some relief from the rain, the drought is still expected to last beyond Christmas.
"It is likely that this rain will help to some extent, especially with plant and tree growth, and those with water butts can be thankful for some natural watering in the coming weeks," Lang said.
"However, it is the moisture content of the soil deeper down that is the concern in an environmental drought - it will take months of above average rainfall to help."