By TAMARA COHEN
Soggy: Lifeguards train on an empty beach at Viking Bay, Broadstairs, Kent, today
We knew the sunshine wouldn’t last, but traditional British summer weather will return with a vengeance this weekend.
The next few days will be a washout, with rain falling on almost every part of the country. In fact, cloud and heavy rain will dominate until the middle of next week.
Today will see the only let-up. It will be mainly dry with just isolated showers and generally warm temperatures.
... while just two days ago, the same Kent beach was packed with sun-seekers enjoying the hot weather
Grey: Seagulls are the only visitors to the beach at Viking Bay which is now completely deserted
Cloud and showers will dominate Saturday, while Sunday will see further heavy rain coming in from the Atlantic and making its way across most parts of the country.
The Environment Agency has even warned there may be flash flooding in the South East.
A Met Office forecaster said: ‘It will be a rainy weekend, it’s very much traditional British summer weather with a lot of areas of low pressure which cause heavy rain.
‘It will hit the East of England, particularly the North-East on Saturday and it will also be heavy in the West and the South-East on Sunday.
‘There will be some prolonged sunny spells but generally the outlook is cloudy with temperatures at a maximum of around 21c (70f).
‘It will remain unsettled this weekend until the early part of next week.’
Heatwave: The beach at Woolacombe in Devon is packed with holidaymakers making the most of the sunshine
Up to 25mm (1in) of rain is likely to fall in some areas, a third of the average rainfall for the whole of August.
It comes after Wednesday saw torrential stormy downpours batter the East coast from Cambridge up to Newcastle.
Eastern England was hit by nearly 5,000 lightning bolts during the afternoon – a rate of one every two seconds – and enough energy to power a shower for all 100,000 people living in Cambridge.
It is very unusual to see more than 3,000 in one day. Flash flooding caused disruption on the roads as drains struggled to cope with the intense burst of rainfall in Peterborough and Yorkshire.
The worst-hit area was Goole in East Yorkshire where 50 firefighters were mobilised to pump out flooded buildings, including an old people’s home.
What a difference a day makes: The same beach less than 24 hours later with only a few brave souls pitching windbreakers
Fountain of youth: Children play in the water on London's South Bank as temperatures soared into the high 20s yesterday (L) but today people kept their distance and sheltered under umbrellas
Wade in the water: Flooding after heavy rain on a housing estate in Goole, Yorkshire
To the rescue: Firefighters make their way through the streets to help stranded residents
Spray: Traffic eases through the water-logged streets in east Yorkshire after flash flooding yesterday
Wet and windy Westminster: A woman tries to hail a taxi on the bridge in front of the Houses of Parliament
Step on it: Girls make a futile attempt to negotiate the puddles in central London this morning
On the boardwalk: A girl shows her appreciation for the wet weather by taking a stroll on Bournemouth pier today
Deserted: Not a soul to be seen on Bournemouth beach today after the sunny spell at the beginning of the week
Puddle trouble: A motorist in Peterborough makes their way through the city centre yesterday
Making a splash: Another driver endures the flash flood conditions along a busy road in Peterborough
Different outlook: These towering specimens almost entirely hide Lucy Watts at Britain's biggest sunflower farm in Spalding, Lincolnshire
Dazzling: After a week of very hot weather the bright yellow blooms are the same size as Lucy Watts' head
Get used to it! These children make the most of the heat by playing in a fountain in London yesterday before heavy rain overnight
Cooling off: Penguins at London Zoo are helped in the sun by a Dyson bladeless fan as temperatures in the capital hit 28C yesterday
Lapping it up: A man in Whitstable makes use of the sun to read on his own on Wednesday
Nice day for sailing: Young sailors take part in a cadet race at Thorpe Bay, Essex, as hundreds of youngsters took to the water while temperatures soared yesterday