A FAMILY had a lucky escape when their South Yorkshire home was hit by lightning in a spate of freak weather set to continue into this week.
The roof of a property in Laughton, Rotherham caught light after what firefighters believe was a hit from a bolt on Saturday night.
While being struck by lightning has long been associated with bad fortune, in a stroke of luck the occupants of the house were not inside when the blaze broke out. The strength of the fire caused the roof to partially collapse.
Crews from Maltby, Mansfield Road, Rotherham and Aston stations were called out to extinguish the fire and yesterday engineers were assessing the extent of the damage to the building.
Simon Rodgers, station manager at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “This appears to be a freak accident caused by a lightning strike, thankfully the family were out at the time, or this could have been a very serious incident.”
The unusual case comes after days of extreme weather in the UK.
Parts of the country experienced thunderstorms on Thursday night, followed by the hottest day of the year so far on Friday.
On Saturday, temperatures soared but heavy rain left parts of Britain facing flood misery as thunder and lightning damaged homes and caused travel disruption.
The stormy weather caused travel disruption at London’s Heathrow Airport as airlines were forced to cancel 20 per cent of flights for a two-hour period.
The wet weekend has also prompted flood warnings from the Environment Agency, which had issued 45 flood alerts by yesterday morning, and one more serious flood warning for the River Penk at Somerford in the West Midlands after 40mm fell in 12 hours.
Forecasters say the worst is over, but do not celebrate too soon, as the next heatwave is just around the corner.
Temperatures are likely to hit highs of 30C in some southern areas of England, while this region will experience only marginally cooler conditions in a three-day spell from Wednesday.
But the hot and humid weather could spark more thundery downpours, leaving Britons to swelter.
Gemma Prebble, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: “By Tuesday there will be highs of 28C on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday it will possibly be up to 30 degrees in the South East.”