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Thunderstorms and torrential rain are forecast to hit Britain as the arrival of Tropical Storm Debby in the North Atlantic signals an end to the heatwave that has gripped the country in recent weeks.

The storm, which is expected to dissipate this afternoon, could bring as much as 30mm of rainfall in an hour to parts of the UK.

Strong winds, hail and even thunder and lightning could even strike parts of the Uk, with parts of the east and the south-east most at risk.

Clouds billowing up from the continent are dousing London and East Anglia in rain and temperatures have fallen significantly, down to 16 - 17 degrees.

Hail has already arrived in western Scotland and has begun to move eastwards.

But it remains unclear how long the wet weather will last, as forecasters predict the continental low-pressure system which has brought Thursday’s rain will pull away towards Scandinavia by the evening, leaving most areas with drier conditions and sunny intervals on Friday.

However, short outbreaks of rain will be a common feature for many on Friday, forecasters said.

“It’s a bit of a change, especially if you’re in London,” said the Met Office’s Richard Miles.

“We’ve got unsettled weather coming in from the west, heaviest in the southeast and East Anglia. Over the weekend it’s going to be much cooler than it has been, generally unsettled, with rain almost anywhere with warm sunshine in between.”

Is the heatwave over?

Mr Miles said although temperatures have fallen, it does not mean the barbecue season is over for the UK.

“Summer isn’t over yet!” he said. “Conditions are still average to above average in temperature and the rain is what you’d expect in August really.”

But he added: “The heat (in the coming days) is going to be nothing like we’ve experiencing recently, especially in the south east. It might get warmer again later in August, but at the moment we’re not looking at a return to that sort of heat.”

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