Thunderstorm and flooding warning for Falkirk

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A yellow weather warning has been issued for thunder, lightning and possible floods across Falkirk and central Scotland today (Thursday).

The Met Office alert is in place from midday until 9pm.

A spokesperson said: “Heavy showers and thunderstorms may cause some travel disruption and flooding in places during Thursday afternoon and evening.

“There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater and lightning strikes.

“Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services

“Spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures

“There is a slight chance that power cuts could occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost.”

The Met Office have also said there is a “small chance” of fast flowing or deep floodwater causing danger to life and have issued the following advice about what measures to take before, during and after a thunderstorm:

Before the thunderstorm

• Unplug all non-essential appliances, including the television, as lightning can cause power surges.

• Seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder you are already within range of where the next ground flash may occur, lightning can strike as far as ten miles away from the centre of a storm.

During the thunderstorm

• Avoid using the phone - telephone lines can conduct electricity.

• Avoid using taps and sinks - metal pipes can conduct electricity.

• If outside avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects.

• Avoid activities such as golf, rod fishing or boating on a lake.

• Be aware of metal objects that can conduct or attract lightning, including golf clubs, golf buggies, fishing rods, umbrellas, motorbikes, bicycles, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs, wire fencing and rails. If you are in a tent, try to stay away from the metal poles.

• If you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and with head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, do not lie down on the ground

If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately.

After the thunderstorm

• Avoid downed power lines or broken cables

• If someone is struck by lightning, they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart, so check if they have a pulse.

Driving in a thunderstorm

• If you are caught out in thunder and lightning it is advised that you wind up the windows and stay inside your car. This is because in the vast majority of cars with a metal roof and frame, the frame will act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers inside and on to the ground.

• Soft-top convertibles, with their fabric roofs, are the most at risk and could catch fire if struck by lightning.

• Be aware that current can travel through other parts of many modern cars, including GPS and radio systems. Cars with metal interior handles, foot pedals and steering wheels can also carry current.

• Cars can be damaged both internally and externally by lightning strikes.

• Thunderstorms can also bring a risk of sudden gusty winds, those most at risk would include cyclists, motorcyclists and high sided vehicles.

• Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.

• Keep your speed down, lowering your speed will lower the distance you travel when buffeted around by the wind.

• Hail storms can be extremely dangerous to drive in reducing your ability to see and be seen, as well as causing damage to your vehicle. If hail is severe, stop and pull over to a safe place and remain inside the vehicle.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) also released flood alerts for Central Scotland today as well as ten other regions.

A statement on their website reads: “On Thursday afternoon and evening torrential showers are forecast that could be slow-moving and thundery. These could cause flooding impacts in some parts of this Flood Alert area, although some places will miss the heaviest showers.

“At most likely risk are urban areas and the transport network, which could see disruption due to surface water flooding. This could include flooding of low-lying land and roads with difficult driving conditions. There could also be flooding from small and urban rivers if isolated rainfall is intense and prolonged.

“Remain vigilant and remember, it is your responsibility to take actions which help protect yourself and your property. Advice and information is also available through Floodline on 0345 9881188.”