AN amber weather warning for rain has been issued for parts of Essex.

The Met Office has issued the warning for Monday afternoon and evening.

An amber warning means flooding and transport disruption is likely from heavy rain.

The warning covers parts of south Essex and Chelmsford.

A yellow warning is also in place for the rest of the county where there is a chance that heavy prolonged rainfall could lead to flooding and disruption to transport.

The yellow warning runs until midnight tonight while the amber warning is in force from 3pm to 11pm today.

The Met Office said: "Homes and businesses are likely to be flooded, causing damage to some buildings.

"Delays and some cancellations to train and bus services are likely with spray and flooding probably leading to difficult driving conditions and some road closures. Fast flowing floodwater is possible, causing danger to life.

"Power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses likely."

From tomorrow, the very unsettled weather is expected to become more widespread, with warnings of heavy rain extending more widely across England.

The intense rainfall and thunderstorms for parts of southern and eastern England are being triggered by a combination of heat across parts of central Europe and a low-pressure system approaching the UK from the south.

As the low-pressure system moves closer, it will draw in warmer air from the continent. 

This combination of warmer, moist air and low pressure provides the ideal conditions for the rapid development of intense rain and thunderstorms.

Steve Ramsdale is duty Chief Meteorologist for the Met Office.  He said: “The development of weather conditions leading to thunderstorms and intense rainfall can happen extremely quickly, creating a challenge for forecasters.

"We have been able to indicate the likelihood of further spells of heavy rainfall for the rest of the week, but the exact details will remain uncertain until nearer the events.

"We will update warnings accordingly, but we urge people to continue to check the forecast and the app for updates during this period.”