This is the moment when apocalyptic weather swept across London, darkening the summer skies.

An extraordinary twister-like cloud formation hovers over central London in a terrifying example of the extreme weather conditions nationwide.

©Peter Gray

And just when you thought the weather couldn't get any worse, Britain was bombarded with huge hailstones.

As thunder and lightning swept across the UK, an inch of rain fell in less than an hour in parts of England - overwhelming drains and triggering floods.

This extraordinary twister-like cloud formation over central London is the latest example of extreme weather conditions nationwide.

At the peak of the storm, parts of the country were peppered with hailstones the size of 50p pieces.

Battersea in South London was blanketed in white in a scene more like winter than the height of summer.

Last night the Met Office warned that more heavy showers and storms were on their way today and issued severe weather warnings for the South West.

The wet weather is expected to last at least until the weekend.

"There have been heavy, thundery showers across the whole of Britain," said a spokesman. "When you get showers at this time of the year, they are inevitably dramatic.

"We saw hailstorms across the UK too, which happens sometimes in the summer, but which can be surprising for the people involved.'

Two girls aged 13 and 15 were treated for serious burns after being struck by lightning at the end of the school day at Ipswich High School.

The East of England Ambulance Service said the strike had blown the girls' shoes apart.

"They were struck simultaneously," said a spokesman. "They both had entry and exit wounds on their arms and feet." He said the girls, who remained conscious throughout their ordeal, had not suffered life-threatening injuries.

Thunder clouds and lightning over London last night

The stormy start to July follows the third wettest June on record.

According to Met Office statistics, 105.3mm or 41ins of rain fell last month. Only 1912 and 1982 were wetter.

It was also the dullest June for ten years, with just 33 hours of sunshine recorded at Jersey Airport - 15 hours below the average for the month.

But despite the cloud and rain, it was the 11th consecutive month to be warmer than average.

A main road in Brixton, South London, turned into a river

Although the rain is forecast to continue, the Environment Agency has removed its last severe flood warnings from the River Don, which warned of imminent threat to life and property. Last night, there were 13 less serious flood warnings and 48 flood watch alerts.

Around 280 people are still in temporary accommodation after their homes were flooded in Yorkshire more than a week ago. They have been told it could be many months before they return.

Doncaster Council said it will take another three or four days before water can be pumped from their homes in Toll Bar.

Firemen from 26 brigades have been brought in to help clear the floods.

The insurance industry says 27,000 homes and 5,000 businesses were hit by last week's floods. It believes the repair bill will top ยฃ1billion.