Patients waiting in an A&E department have been evacuated during flash-flooding and lightning as violent weather swept across the UK.

Firefighters were called in to pump water out of the waiting area of the A&E at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital while the heavy rain caused damage to a ceiling on the ninth floor on Wednesday evening.

Hospital bosses also said lightning struck two trees near an administrative building – they were described as looking as if they had "exploded".

The disruption began at around 6.30pm as thunderstorms raged across Gloucestershire.

Craig Bradley, associate chief nurse, was called to respond to the incident and told Gloucestershire Live last night: “Storms had been forecast for this evening but the intensity of the rainfall, over such a short period of time, led to rainwater overwhelming areas of the hospital.

The A&E at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital had to be evacuated

“We also had reports of damage to two trees.

“On initial inspection we thought they might have been wind damaged but the tree surgeon in attendance confirmed they had been struck by lightning.

“The two trees looked like they had exploded and had signs of heat damage.

“We were very lucky that nobody was harmed as a result.”

The drainage system at the Tower Block was also "overwhelmed" by the heavy rain fall and there was damage to a ceiling on the ninth floor of the building.

The ceilings caved in across parts of the hospital

Craig praised the team at GRH and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and said within three hours, the hospital was operational again and no patients or staff came to any harm.

He thanked doctors, nurses, estates staff, porters and domestics who worked together to restore calm.

More severe weather is forecast today with yellow warnings for thunderstorms in place until Monday.