Hampshire: House roofs destroyed after being struck by lightning in Andover amid thunderstorm warnings | UK News
Two houses in Hampshire were badly damaged by lightning, the fire service reported.
The roofs of the two terraced houses in Andover collapsed after being hit by a thunderstorm and flames then spread through the houses. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIOWFRS) said.
The photo showed smoke billowing from the homes on Mercia Avenue, and firefighters were dispatched from seven surrounding areas at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
Both buildings were “severely damaged” by the explosion, according to the fire service.
A 70-year-old woman was checked by paramedics at the scene, but did not need to be taken to hospital.
Yellow thunderstorm warnings are in place for the entire south coast and parts of Wales until midnight Sunday.
Neighbor Barrie Austen, 79, described the moment the lightning struck.
“There was a huge bang. It was clearly lightning. I think it woke up the rest of the street,” he said.
“I saw it flickering and when I looked outside I saw the roof of the semi-detached house completely ablaze and it was completely gone.
“The side supporting the roof also collapsed and then the flames spread to the next door.”
He said the 70-year-old was one of two sisters who lived in one of the properties.
“She seemed shocked but seemed fine, no real physical problems. I think lightning hit the roof, woke them up and they just came out,” he added.
It took just under three hours to get the blaze under control and firefighters were still busy tamping the houses on Saturday afternoon.
The thunderstorms come after a week of extreme heat in the UK, with temperatures over 30C (86F).
Forecasters say the heat wave will be replaced by heavy rain, hail and gusty winds over the weekend.
The Met Office has issued two thunderstorm warnings for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Heavy rain is expected in southern parts of England and Wales on Saturday, with 50mm (2 inches) falling in just an hour and up to 100mm (4 inches) on Sunday in some places.
Those looking to make the most of the first weekend of the school holidays may be disappointed, with around six million leisure trips expected this weekend, the RAC said.
Heavy downpours risk flooding, road closures and dangerous driving conditions, while strong winds – up to 55 mph in coastal areas – are likely to cause problems for people staying in tents or caravans.
Ferry services may also be affected, the Met Office added.
Sunday’s storm warning moves east into East Anglia and threatens to disrupt the Latitude Festival in Suffolk.
About 40,000 people will attend the event at the Henham Park Estate as part of the government’s pilot program for major events.
In the north of England the weather is likely to be calmer, with less rain and more sunshine, although temperatures will be cooler than this week.