Storm of the Century: Flash Flooding Hits London

A huge storm hits London during the evening rush hour, turning parts of the city into a watery nightmare.

Traffic came to a standstill with drivers stranded in their cars on major roads and traffic jams stretching for miles.

Many commuters were left trapped at home or work as Underground stations became submerged under water, while others found themselves being carried down steps by strong currents.

This picture by British photographer Toby Melville shows water rushing in through an entrance to London Waterloo.

Toby, who captured these dramatic pictures while out covering the storm for Reuters news agency, said: “It was pretty extreme.”

“Luckily I work down in the Docklands so I was working in an unaffected part of the city when it all happened.

“It’s important for me to be able to get around the city, although I did get stranded at Waterloo station for a while.”

A spokesman said London had received 8mm of rain in 10 minutes. He said: “Water was over the road on some roads and flooding had trapped people in cars.”

The capital’s mayor Boris Johnson, who chairs Transport for London (TfL) and is also one of the country’s MPs, has come under fire for his failure to invest in flood defences.

A spokesman said: “More than 100 roads were closed across the city as a result of localised flooding.”

The Mail reports that Underground services were suspended between Waterloo and Vauxhall on the south bank, leaving many commuters stranded.

Water poured into Bakerloo line tunnels at Queen’s Park, with passengers forced to evacuate through storm drains.

The Evening Standard reports that staff were seen handing out foil blankets to hundreds of increasingly irate Tube users.


TfL said London Underground tickets were being accepted on First Capital Connect trains passing through central London, as well as on the underground network between Wimbledon and Sutton.

The Met Office had issued a warning of heavy rain for London from 4pm until 8pm. It said “8mm of rain in 10 minutes” had been recorded at South Woodford. Torrential downpours continued to lash the capital throughout the evening rush-hour.

It added that roads across the centre of London, including the Strand and Fleet Street, were “flooded” along with many underpasses.

The A4 in Kensington was flooded between Holland Park Avenue and Hammersmith Flyover, while Chiswick High Road was closed off in both directions between Garrick Road and Hogarth Lane. The A4 at Paddington was also closed in both directions due to flooding, plus the road at Hanger Lane and Ironbridge Road in Ealing.

There were severe delays on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and National Rail services were affected by an obstruction on the line between London Blackfriars and St Pancras.

In central London, the Victoria Line was suspended from Warren Street to Brixton, as was the Circle Line from Edgware Road to Hammersmith. The District Line operated a severe service from Wimbledon to Edgware Road via Earls Court.

In south-west London, the Southeastern service to Kent was delayed by more than an hour.

In west London, a signalling problem at Acton Town meant no Chiltern Railways services were going to or from Marylebone and all lines were blocked between Eastcote and Denham.

Information on disrupted National Rail services is available here .