Flood alerts have been issued across south west London as the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for the region on Friday (June 18).

The government's Flood Information Service said flooding was possible in most south west London boroughs including parts of Wandsworth, Merton, Lambeth, Croydon, Sutton, Richmond and Kingston as it urged residents in these areas to "be prepared".

After sweltering sunny weather earlier this week thunderstorms have brought torrential rain to the capital but more is expected this evening and into the weekend.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said:

"Spells of heavy rain may lead to some travel disruption and flooding, with thunder possible towards eastern coasts.

"Spray and sudden flooding will lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures.

"Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services.

"Power cuts might occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost.

"Flooding of homes and businesses could happen quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater or possibly lightning strikes."

The Flood Information Service meanwhile warned those in south west London of the likely disruption that any flooding could bring.

A statement posted to the service's dedicated government website read:

"Heavy rain and thunderstorms bringing the potential for locally intense rainfall are forecast to affect London throughout the day today, Friday 18 June. While uncertainty remains around exact timings and which areas will experience the heaviest rain there is a possibility that rivers could respond quickly and overtop their banks.

"Flooding to low lying land, roads and riverside gardens is possible throughout the day today. Surface water flooding may also affect low lying areas.

"We recommend you monitor local weather conditions and consider putting your flood plan into action. You should avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water.

"We are monitoring rainfall and river levels and are prepared to issue flood warnings if necessary. Our staff are out on the ground checking our structures and clearing blockages. We will update this message by 8pm today, Friday 18 June or earlier if the situation changes."

Heavier and more regular flooding in the UK is expected by scientists as the planet heats up with the climate emergency.

According to the Met Office, the UK’s climate is already becoming wetter:

"For example, the highest rainfall totals over a five day period are 4 per cent higher during the most recent decade (2008-2017) compared to 1961-1990.

"Furthermore, the amount of rain from extremely wet days has increased by 17 per cent when comparing the same time periods," a spokesperson for the authority said previously.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meanwhile reported that the UK could expect to see about 10 per cent more rainfall on average per year by 2100 compared to 1986-2005, meaning a much heightened risk of flooding in the coming years.

Regarding Friday's expected heavy rainfall, the Environment Agency's Caroline Douglass meanwhile said:  

"Heavy showers and thunderstorms across London, Hertfordshire and Essex could lead to surface water and river flooding in some communities on Friday, with possible disruption to travel and flooding of individual properties. 

"Environment Agency teams have been out on the ground overnight clearing waste grilles and screens, stand ready to operate flood defences if needed and will support local authorities in their response to surface water flooding.

"We urge people not to drive though flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.”