Thomas Cook plane diverts to Norwich Airport after Stanstead Airport refuelling problems

A streak of lightning illuminates London's Shard. Pic. Matthew Smith

Image A streak of lightning illuminates London's Shard. Pic. Matthew Smith

British meteorologists say up to 20,000 lightning strikes hit the United Kingdom during a powerful overnight thunderstorm, and a London-area airport is reporting flight disruptions after an aircraft refuelling system was damaged.

Flights were forced to remain grounded after the lightning strikes reportedly destroyed the airport's fuelling system.

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: "Flight MT1958 diverted to Norwich for fuelling due to the fuelling problems at Stansted".

One passenger tweeted: 'All we been told is no fuel in Stansted due to fuel tank being struck by lightnight'.

There were cancellations and delays following a thunderstorm and lightning strikes overnight.

A spokeswoman said engineers had since restored the system but "flights may be diverted, delayed or cancelled".

Flights are delayed at London Stansted Airport.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and advise all passengers to check with their airlines for their latest flight updates", she said.

The Met Office issued a yellow warning for rain and flooding for most of the country, with warning of damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail, or strong winds.

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