A man has died after being swept away by floodwater as heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning battered parts of central and northern England.

West Mercia Police said the man was overcome by the water in a stream at Bittlerley, near Ludlow, Shropshire, shortly after 10.30am on Thursday.

Witnesses reported the incident and the man's body was found after an extensive search involving police, fire crews and the Severn Area Rescue Association.

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A police spokeswoman said the man, in his 60s, has not been formally identified.

West Mercia Police had previously urged drivers to "take it easy" in waterlogged areas.

A spokeswoman said: "With heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast, West Mercia Police urges drivers to take it easy and not take any risks should they come across a flood.

"It is very difficult to tell just how deep floodwater is or what problems there might be below its surface.

"For their own safety, drivers should not take the risk. People have died after becoming trapped in their vehicles or even been washed away by rapidly rising water levels."

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  • A man shelters from the wind and the rain on June 11, 2012 in Southsea, England. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for England and Wales for heavy rain and the Environment Agency has issued flooding alerts in more than 30 areas in south-east England, Wales and the Midlands. The UK's unseasonable weather is said to be due to the jet stream bringing low pressure further south than normal and forecasters say the wet and windy weather could continue for the next few weeks. (Photo credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Rain falls onto a icecream vendor's booth on June 11, 2012 in Southsea, England. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for England and Wales for heavy rain and the Environment Agency has issued flooding alerts in more than 30 areas in south-east England, Wales and the Midlands. The UK's unseasonable weather is said to be due to the jet stream bringing low pressure further south than normal and forecasters say the wet and windy weather could continue for the next few weeks. (Photo credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • A jogger braves the wind and the rain on June 11, 2012 in Southsea, England. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for England and Wales for heavy rain and the Environment Agency has issued flooding alerts in more than 30 areas in south-east England, Wales and the Midlands. The UK's unseasonable weather is said to be due to the jet stream bringing low pressure further south than normal and forecasters say the wet and windy weather could continue for the next few weeks. (Photo credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site Stonehenge brave the wind and the rain on June 11, 2012 near Amesbury, England. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for England and Wales for heavy rain and the Environment Agency has issued flooding alerts in more than 30 areas in south-east England, Wales and the Midlands. The UK's unseasonable weather is said to be due to the jet stream bringing low pressure further south than normal and forecasters say the wet and windy weather could continue for the next few weeks. (Photo credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site Stonehenge brave the wind and the rain on June 11, 2012 near Amesbury, England. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for England and Wales for heavy rain and the Environment Agency has issued flooding alerts in more than 30 areas in south-east England, Wales and the Midlands. The UK's unseasonable weather is said to be due to the jet stream bringing low pressure further south than normal and forecasters say the wet and windy weather could continue for the next few weeks. (Photo credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • A woman wades through water on the A33, which is closed due to flooding in Chineham near Bassingstoke, Hampshire.

  • Standing water on the A33, which is closed due to flooding in Chineham near Bassingstoke, Hampshire.

  • Cars splash through remaining flood water on the A63 outside Leeds after flash flooding in the area last night.

  • Workers survey the water on the A33, which is closed due to flooding in Chineham near Bassingstoke, Hampshire.

  • Standing water on the A33, which is closed due to flooding in Chineham near Bassingstoke, Hampshire.

  • Cars splash through remaining flood water on the A63 outside Leeds after flash flooding in the area last night.

  • A general view of water on the A33, which is closed due to flooding in Chineham near Bassingstoke, Hampshire.

  • Paul Burrow mops the floor in his water damaged kitchen at his home in Swillington, Leeds, after floods tore through the area over the weekend.

  • Gill West mops up after her home was flooded, in Tal-y-bont, Mid Wales, after floods tore through the area over the weekend.

  • A pedestrian jumps over a puddle left by persistent rain in central London on June 11, 2012. Persistent rainfall over much of southern England and the midlands has lead to the risk of flooding with the Met office issuing a severe weather warning. (Photo credit: CARL COURT/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Taxis drive past a puddle left by persistent rain in central London on June 11, 2012. (Photo credit: CARL COURT/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A picture shows the British Houses of Parliament seen through heavy fog and low cloud in London on June 11, 2012. Heavy rain fell over much of the south and central England on June 11, disrupting sporting events like the third Test at Edgbasten and the Aegon Championships and shrouding the captial in a pall of mist and fog. (Photo credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

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