Torrential rain and thunderstorms struck Britain on Friday, causing travel chaos, forcing television stations off the air and delaying a cricket match between England and India.

At London's Heathrow airport, 141 flights were cancelled, 25 stations on the London Underground were closed because of flooding and rail company First Great Western advised travellers against taking the train.

"Even if the flooding subsides, all our trains will be in the wrong places and there will still be severe delays," said a spokesman for the operator, whose services in the west of England were badly hit.

Homes around England and Wales faced flash flooding and police reported a slew of weather-related car and truck crashes.


Sweeping in from the south-west, the rain struck first in southern and central England and Wales.

Some of the country's television stations briefly went off the air as satellite signals were disrupted.

The heavy rain also delayed the start of the second day's play in the first Test between England and India at Lord's in London, though play did eventually begin late.


The latest bad weather came after four people died in floods in June. Thousands of people are still homeless after flood damage.

"It's fair to say that what we're seeing today is extremely rare for this time of year," said forecaster Helen Rossington from MeteoGroup UK.