It's a sight more commonly seen on the subcontinent, but a swirling tornado can be seen forming in the skies above Britain.

The dramatic image was captured by amateur photographer John Prescott near Bude, Cornwall, yesterday as the tip of the tornado comes close to making contact with the ground.

It comes as torrential downpours and thunderstorms battered Britain over the weekend, with parts of the country seeing two months of rain in half a day.

© n/aStorm: A tornado comes close to touching the ground near Bude, Cornwall, yesterday during a day of heavy rainfall
While the country basked in the hottest day of the year at the start of last week, by the end Britons were witnessing a return to more familiar weather.

Heavy rain accompanied by lightning swept across the south during the weekend bringing flash-flooding to Devon, Somerset and south Wales.

Exeter saw almost four inches of rain fall in just over half a day - twice the seasonal monthly average - trapping a number of cars in flood water.

scortched campsite
© PINScorched: Campsite owner Cindy Ramm sifts through the remains of two caravans, destroyed this morning when lightning struck them at Corfe, Dorset
Thousands of families were left without power in the West Country today following the downpours.

Devon was the worst-hit county as more than 2,000 properties were left without electricity.

More than 100 homes were evacuated after flash flooding hit south Wales yesterday.

Mother-of-two Cerwen Price, 32, from Rhydfelin, near Pontypridd, said: 'It is ridiculous. Last weekend we were having a barbecue, now we are flooded out.'

Roof blaze
© Paul WoodInferno: A roof blaze after a lightning strike in Wembley, North West London

© n/aRescue: Ambulance crews and firefighters battled to rescue occupants
The storms reached the capital between 6am and 8am today, before moving north.

But the angry weather left its mark; with residents evacuated from a block of flats in Wembley, North West London, early this morning after lightning set the roof ablaze. Nobody was reported injured.

Dave Elliott, a weather forecaster at the Met Office, said: 'This time last week it was hot and dry, with temperatures reaching 27C (81F).

© How Evans Pictures AgencyClean-up operation: Robert Penduck begins clearing mud and water from his home in Rhydfelin, South Wales, following flash flooding

© Huw Evans Picture AgencyDamage: Rydfelin residents clear away tarmac that was ripped up by the floods

Mudl slide in Rhydfelin
© Huw Evans Picture AgencyMud slide: A JCB is needed to clear away mud, rubble and water in Rhydfelin
'This weekend, a band of heavy rain and thunder has swept across the south over Saturday and Sunday and then started to move north, so most of the country will have got a good drenching.

'Exeter saw 93mm (3.66 inches) of rain in 13 hours, which is close to two months worth of rainfall for the area.

'Parts of south Wales saw three inches of rainfall as well, causing localised flooding.

'Heavy showers also arrived in London early Sunday morning, with three weeks worth of rain falling in a few hours.

'The band of rain then headed north, but should peter out by the end of the weekend, although fresh thunderstorms may follow.

airlift in snowdonia
© PAAirlift: An RAF helicopter rescues endangered fell runners in Snowdonia

© PASafe and sound: The helicopter returns another fell runner to safety
'Northern England enjoyed the best of the weekend weather. Saturday started off wet, but it quickly dried out and much of the region enjoyed long sunny spells.

'The bad conditions were a result of an area of low pressure bringing wet weather in from the Atlantic.'

Those hoping for a return of warmer climes will be left disappointed, as forecasters warn the unsettled weather is due to remain throughout much of the week, with temperatures peaking at 18C (64F).

crowd at emirates stadium london
© PAGimme shelter: The crowd at the Capital 95.8 Summertime Ball music festival try not to let the rain get them down at the Emirates Stadium in North London today
Last month's sunny spell has helped boost the popularity of British destinations, according to the latest research.

Scotland and the Lake District have seen the biggest rise in searches for summer 2009 getaway breaks on holiday website website.

Scotland has seen a massive 203 per cent increase year-on year in searches, while the Lake District has gone up 127 per cent.