London: Flash floods have caused mayhem on roads in parts of the Midlands after storms and torrential rain released a weekend of humid weather.
The equivalent of a month’s rain fell in one hour in parts of the region, leaving a submerged stretch of the M5 and other roads closed. Vehicles were left swamped in flood water up to 5ft deep.
The Met Office said 2.3in fell in 60 minutes in Edgbaston and issued a yellow weather warning for the region, meaning there could be “danger to life”.
Multiple flood warnings across the area, covering parts of the Rea and Cole rivers, were announced by the Environment Agency.
Highways England was forced to close part of the M5 between Halesowen and Oldbury, and parts of the M42 and M6 were subject to lane and exit closures.
West Midlands Police advised people to avoid driving in Birmingham.
The force’s support nit said: “Please try to avoid the following areas due to floods and road closures. Pershore Road at Oakfield Road, Selly Oak — reports of water 5ft deep. Road being closed and bus passengers being evacuated.”
Some train services operated by CrossCountry were also disrupted by severe weather near Birmingham New Street, leading to signalling problems.
The University of Birmingham had to close its main sports and fitness centre due to flooding, and several houses were reportedly besieged by water.
Images on social media showed people wading through water to push stranded cars, and there were reports of wheelie bins floating down roads.
A total of 47 flood alerts were also issued for other areas across the UK. Thunderstorms were expected to continue affecting parts of Wales, southern and central England into Monday morning. The Met Office was warning of potential power cuts and damage to buildings.