09/08/2019 08:26 BST

UK Weather: Drivers Warned Of Hazardous Conditions As Heavy Rain And Strong Wind Batters Country

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings, meanwhile Cornwall was rocked by an earthquake on Thursday night.

Heavy rain and strong winds are causing widespread disruption across the UK with several yellow weather warnings in place.

Meanwhile an earthquake rocked parts of Cornwall on Thursday evening, the British Geological Survey has confirmed.

The wet weather caused hazardous driving conditions in parts of the UK on Friday morning.

Motorists and commuters have been told to avoid travelling if possible.

“There is some fairly heavy rain and thunderstorms from Bristol, up through Wales and into Northern Ireland,” a spokesman for the Met Office said.

“That will transfer eastwards over the next few hours, causing poor driving conditions in places.”

Warnings for rain and wind came into force across nearly all of the UK on Friday as unseasonal weather continues to cause chaos.

Several festivals and events have been cancelled as forecasters warned of strong wind and heavy rain up and down the country.

The Met Office said westerly regions will be hit first as it issued a yellow wind warning beginning on Friday afternoon, covering West Wales, Devon and Cornwall, and stretching to parts of the Channel coast.

A second warning will then come into force on Saturday covering the whole of Wales and southern and central England as far north as Blackpool, Huddersfield and Grimsby.

Neil Armstrong, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “This low-pressure system will bring challenging conditions, including unseasonably strong winds and heavy rain, from the west during Friday and Saturday.

“Summer storms – compared with those in autumn and winter – always have the potential to create additional impacts because more people are likely to be outdoors, especially by the coast.

“Additionally with trees in full leaf they are more vulnerable to being brought down by strong winds.”

Warnings are also in place at Whaley Bridge, where around 1,500 residents were recently allowed home after the damaged Toddbrook Reservoir was deemed safe.

Derbyshire Police released a statement on Thursday afternoon which said if the water reached a “level of concern, the residents in the evacuation zone will be the first to know”.

Two music festivals were cancelled over the weather and other events, including the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, were also scaled back.

Houghton, a Norfolk dance music festival, was cancelled just hours before it was due to start, its “devastated” organisers announced on Facebook.

The decision was taken after Boardmasters, in Newquay, was called off on Wednesday.

The weather warnings will be cut back on Sunday to cover only northern England, where thunderstorms are likely, and none are currently in place for Monday.

The Met Office had previously described the conditions as “more like autumn than August” and forecast winds of up to 60mph in some places.

Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be hit by thunderstorms over the weekend.

Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, urged drivers to check conditions before they travel and “consider if their journey is necessary”.

“In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down and avoid using exposed sections of road if possible,” he said.

The RNLI has also warned people visiting the coast to beware of large waves and storms.

In Scotland rail passengers faced severe disruption on Thursday when Winchburgh Tunnel, near Broxburn in West Lothian, flooded following 50mm of rainfall the previous day.

Trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow and Dunblane were delayed or cancelled for almost 24 hours.

Meanwhile Cornwall was rocked on Thursday night by an earthquake measuring 2.2 on the magnitude scale.

Residents in Helston, Reduth and Falmouth felt their homes shaking shortly before 6pm.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said the quake happened about three miles (5km) south-west of Falmouth.

No structural damage has been reported.