SOMERSET is braced for severe weather over the next 24 hours as torrential downpours and thunderstorms are heading our way.

The Met Office has upgraded their weather warnings for the county to an amber alert, the authority's second highest grading.

Forecasters say several areas of heavy, thundery showers will develop tonight (July 18) before moving northwards during tomorrow.

They added: "Not everywhere within the warning area will see thunderstorms, and indeed some spells of warm sunshine are expected at times, but where thunderstorms do form, some torrential downpours are likely with frequent lightning, large hail and locally strong gusts.

"Significant flooding is possible where these do occur from surface water as well as from small, fast-responding watercourses."

One chief forecaster said the very warm and humid air will becoming increasing unstable over the next 24 hours.

They said: "This will lead to the development of areas of intense thunderstorms, these moving northwards across the UK and affecting different areas at various times through the day.

"In this situation, large amounts of energy are available in the atmosphere and this, coupled with high moisture content, can lead to torrential downpours along with frequent lightning activity, large hail and locally strong gusts.

"As is usually the case with thunderstorms, broad areas can be identified as at risk some time in advance but detail will remain very uncertain until very close to the event.

"Some areas will miss the worst of the storms whilst nearby spots experience severe downpours with some localised flooding, so the public are advised stay in touch with the latest forecasts and warnings through Saturday."

If you get any photos of the thunderstorms, you can email to the following:

Somerset County Gazette -

Bridgwater Mercury -

Chard & Ilminster News -