All planned surgery and outpatient appointments have been cancelled at an east London hospital after a weekend of heavy rain caused flooding in parts of the capital.
Officials said ambulances were being diverted away from Whipps Cross hospital while a cleanup operation was carried out. It comes after footage online showed various parts of the broader area under water.
“We are continuing to experience operational issues at Whipps Cross hospital due to the heavy rainfall yesterday. We cancelled all planned surgery and outpatient appointments for today, and are diverting ambulances while we work hard to clean up affected areas of the hospital,” said a spokesperson for Barts Health NHS trust.
“We are keeping the situation under constant review and will post updates about services as necessary. Meanwhile, we cleaned all areas affected by the flooding at Newham hospital yesterday and its emergency department is now open to people needing emergency care.
“We are working closely with other hospitals across the Barts Health group to maintain patient care and asking the public to check the latest visiting arrangements for each hospital on our website before coming to any site.”
Homes, roads and public transport stations in London were flooded as a result of the weekend’s rainfall, while the Environment Agency has six flood warnings in place across south-eastern England. In all, there are also 19 alerts for potential flooding active throughout England and Wales.
St James’s Park in London was the wettest part of the country on Sunday, with 41.6mm of rain. Residents in north-east London used buckets, brooms and wooden boards to create makeshift flood defences for their homes, while water gushing from a station was caught on video.
Met Office and Environment Agency rain gauges showed there was 48.5mm (1.9in) of rain in one hour at Bethersden in Kent between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday. There was 38.5mm in one hour at Ryde, Isle of Wight, and 20-30mm in one hour in parts of London and nearby counties.
London fire brigade said it had taken 300 flooding-related calls in just a few hours on Sunday.
The Standon Calling music festival, which had been taking place in Hertfordshire with a capacity of 15,000, was called off due to flooding.
Standon Calling said on Twitter: “If you can safely leave the site this evening please do so as soon as possible. We are working on getting everyone off site as safely and quickly as possible.”
The festival said it expected “considerable delays” leaving the site and warned festivalgoers not to drive if intoxicated.
The Environment Agency on Sunday issued five flood warnings across the southern parts of England and 19 flood alerts, which included parts of Wales. A yellow thunderstorm warning was in place until midnight on Sunday covering an area of the south from Norwich to Plymouth.
An amber warning for thunderstorms had previously been issued by the Met Office for parts of south-east England, including the London area, during Sunday afternoon and early evening.
The Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates said the storms were being caused by a convergence of air currents as warmth in the Earth’s surface from the recent heatwave rose to meet cooler air in the atmosphere.