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Torrential rain leads to travel misery for commuters

COMMUTERS faced a morning of travel misery today after torrential rain lashed parts of the country overnight.

Weather warnings remain in place for much of today, with forecasters predicting some areas of the UK could be inundated with up to 4in (100mm) of rain this week.

The downpours led to flooding across roads and railway lines, with some areas being hit with more than a month’s worth of rain in a day.

All in a flap: One commuter struggles to control her umbrella PICTURE: PA

Heavy flooding in Kent closed all lines through Orpington railway station for several hours, while tracks at Mitcham Junction in south London were also submerged.

Network Rail said that more than a month’s worth of rain had fallen across the south-east region in a day, leading to flooding and problems with its power-supply and signalling equipment.

It tweeted that a ‘conductor rail which powers trains was completely underwater in Mitcham and it also caused a fire in a trackside electrical hut’.

Floodwater: Commuters faced a morning of disruption as torrential rain continued to lash the country, including near Mitcham Junction, above PICTURE: PA

Network Rail South East added: ‘Across the region, we suffered over a month’s rainfall in just one day and in some areas, the downpours equated to two months’ rain.

‘We’ve been constantly monitoring the weather and despite handling the brunt yesterday, the deluge overnight overwhelmed some drainage systems.

‘However, despite our efforts we still suffered a number of flood issues.’

Rail operator Southern warned passengers to expect delays and cancellations for the rest of the day across the Southern and Thameslink network and urged people to avoid travelling in the south London area if possible.

In the thick of it: Sevenoaks in Kent flooded during a sudden downpour PICTURE: PA

It added: ‘Trains across the Southern and Thameslink network will be disrupted due to heavy flooding on the railway.

‘Southern and Thameslink advise you to avoid travelling on their services in the south London area if possible, especially those via Sutton, West Croydon or Balham.’

Meanwhile, motorists faced disruption after police shut a section of the M25 overnight when two sinkholes were discovered on the central reservation.

Motorway misery: Two sinkholes caused one of Britain’s busiest roads to be closed after appearing in the middle of the carriageway PICTURE: SWNS

The motorway was closed in both directions but Highways England said the sinkholes had been repaired and the road reopened by around 6am.

Looking ahead, north-eastern parts of England and the Midlands are expected to bear the brunt of the downpours later today, with a yellow warning in place until midnight.

Another warning has been issued for Devon and Somerset, where similar conditions are expected.

The Environment Agency has issued three flood warnings in south-east England, for the River Wandle in Morden, south London, the Emm Brook in Wokingham, Berkshire, and the River Ravensbourne in Bromley, south-east London.

Heavy rain: A car crashes through standing water on a road near Tenterden in Kent PICTURE: PA

A total of 37 flood alerts are in place across the country.

During tomorrow and Thursday, some parts of the UK could have 2.4in to 3.2in (60mm to 80mm) of rain, and possibly even up to 4in (100mm), the Met Office said.

Its meteorologist Alex Burkill described the figures as the ‘worst-case scenarios’ but added that people need ‘to be aware that we’re in for some treacherous weather’.

‘If you add it all up, some places are likely to see over 100mm this week, which is around double the average they would get in the whole of June,’ he said.

People are being urged to avoid low-lying footpaths and roads near rivers which may be flooded.