Monday evening news briefing: Storms and floods set to sweep UK

·7 min read
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Britain's heatwave is set to be washed away by heavy rain, but it could be more of a curse than a blessing as dangerous flash flooding is also expected. We have the latest warnings and forecast from the Met Office. But first, the headlines...

Evening briefing: Today's other essential headlines

New Covid jab | The UK is the world's first country to authorise an omicron-specific booster vaccination, with an updated version of the Moderna jab set to be available in time for an autumn campaign. The US-based company's so-called bivalent jab combines both the original form of the Covid vaccine with a version tailored for omicron. Science correspondent Joe Pinkstone explains the levels of protection.

The big story: Thunderstorms set to sweep Britain

After the latest heatwave, comes the rain, storms – and floods. The Met Office has warned that an "incredible deluge" expected in the UK over the next few days would hit hard ground and could cause flooding within an hour, with people urged to pack up their valuables now and move them to a higher level.

A yellow warning for thunderstorms is in place across Monday and Tuesday, but meteorologists said it is not clear exactly where the storms will strike.

Up to 50mm (2in) of rain is expected within two hours in some parts – a volume that is likely to flood low-lying areas quickly.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said anyone travelling by car should be "prepared to get stuck" and expect flooded roads and run-off from fields. Environment correspondent Olivia Rudgard has the latest warnings and weather forecast.

It comes after weeks of little rain and warm conditions have caused droughts in large areas of Britain, leaving land parched. See some of the most striking pictures and search for water restrictions by postcode.

With fears over the drought ravaging British crops, farmers say shoppers must be prepared to buy wonky vegetables.

The National Farmers' Union urged people to "pull together" and accept buying wonky vegetables, as the lack of water threatens to produce shrunken onions and potatoes that might not ordinarily meet supermarket quality standards.

If your home-grown fruit and vegetables (and plants) are suffering in the drought, try our top tips for watering even if you do have a hosepipe ban.

'If you can see me, weep'

As drought continues to also afflict Europe, severe dry conditions have caused water levels of the river Elbe to drop – exposing centuries-old "hunger stones" that are embedded into the banks to mark water levels during famines.

One stone, now visible in Děčín, where the Elbe flows from the Czech Republic into Germany, was carved with a warning in 1616 that reads: "If you see me, weep."

Read about other stones, which were common from the 16th to 19th centuries, that have been exposed with inscriptions with similarly macabre warnings.

The hobby enjoying a boom

There is, at least, one positive to come from the drought: there has never been a better time to go mudlarking.

If you are unfamiliar with the hobby, it involves sifting through river banks for lost items of value or historical significance – and it has made a comeback during the recent high temperatures.

India Sturgis explains how the lack of rain that has caused water levels to drop means the activity is enjoying a boom.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Russian reporter gives up location

Ukraine used US-supplied Himars to destroy the military headquarters of notorious Russian private military contractor Wagner after a state TV reporter appeared to have given away its location by posting photos online in what was described as a "stunning security blunder". A Ukrainian official today confirmed Russian media reports that the base in Popasna in eastern Ukraine was targeted by a missile strike, with some estimating that as many as 100 fighters were killed. Meanwhile, see photos of public prison cages that captured Ukrainian fighters face being paraded around in during an anticipated "show trial".

Monday long-read: The little-known Wall Street firm at war with City metal market

Jane Street is one of the most prestigious firms in global markets, but outside the world of finance it is barely known. Operating at the cutting edge of trading strategies, it has become a cornerstone of Wall Street known for its big bets on "black swan" events. Louis Ashworth explains how it has flung itself into the spotlight to sue the London Metal Exchange, which denies claims over cancelled nickel trades. Read the article.

London Metal Exchange
London Metal Exchange

Sport briefing: Souness 'doesn't regret a word'

Graeme Souness has doubled down on his "man's game" comments amid an escalating sexism row, saying he does not regret "a word of it" despite uproar among England women's players. The former Liverpool manager today launched a staunch defence of his remarks on Sky Sports. After Man United's 4-0 capitulation away to Brentford, Erik ten Hag is demanding at least three more signings before the transfer window closes after angrily laying down the law to under-performing players.

Editor's choice

  1. Travel | The underrated English county that is a cross between Tuscany and the Sahara

  2. Marriage Diaries | After 30 years, my partner finally proposed – but not in the way I'd hoped

  3. Motoring | Citroen C5 X review: Accomplished all-rounder is the shape of things to come

Business briefing: Bumps in four-day week trial

Companies involved in the world's biggest four-day week pilot are struggling with rota chaos and staff confusion, with bosses reporting the policy may not survive. While some chief executives involved said they have noticed benefits, including greater productivity and happier staff, others are starting to question whether they can realistically continue once the pilot ends. Meanwhile, PwC is lowering the qualifications bar for new graduates joining its firm in an effort to boost diversity.

Tonight starts now

Raducanu v Williams | Emma Raducanu has expressed excitement at her "incredible" opportunity to play Serena Williams before her idol retires from elite tennis. The Briton faces the 23-time major singles champion for the first time in her career in the first round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati tonight. Raducanu, who won the US Open last summer as a qualifier, recognises that it is also likely to be her last opportunity to play Williams. The first match between the two players might not kick off until close to midnight. Follow the action here.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Health and fitness | Is it possible to win your battle of the bulge with a military mindset? Whether your aim is to halt midlife weight gain or improve your fitness, experts say that training like a soldier will help. Lebby Eyres explains how to reach your goals.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here . For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.