by Andrew Hough
Huge thunderstorms have swept across London as torrential downpours threaten several Olympic events ahead of another potential gold rush for British athletes.
The “biblical storm” lashed swathes of the capital this morning as Britain’s wintry weather returned with a vengeance.
Driving rain and thunder and lightening forced thousands of Olympic spectators to run for cover and threatened several key events on day nine of the Games.
The men’s trap was also suspended due to “lightning and dangerous conditions”, according to Australian officials.
The torrential rain left scores of homes flooded in North Somerset following heavy rain, which also caused a landslip.
A total of 23 gold medals are up for grabs with highlights including the men’s singles tennis final at Wimbledon between Andy Murray and Roger Federer, the world number one.
The miserable weather could hamper Murray’s bid for a double gold medal – he is also due to play in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson – as the All England Club will likely close the £100million roof.
A day after British athletes stole the show at the Olympic Stadium, Usain Bolt will try to do the same in the London Games’ blue ribbon event.
But when the Jamaican is due to have fans in the Olympic Stadium screaming and on their feet shortly before 10pm, more rain is forecast to arrive from the south.
Two of Britain’s winning athletes Mo Farah (10,000 metres) and Greg Rutherford (long jump) are due to be presented with their gold medals tonight.
While the rain was expected to clear for most of the athletics at the Olympic Park this afternoon, authorities warned specators that the elements would be unpredictable.
Officials urged fans to not “let the rain put you off”, particularly the women’s marathon which is due to pass some of capital’s most historic landmarks.
The race, which starts and finishes in the Mall, kicked off today’s athletics programme before taking in much of central London.
Despite the dire conditions, huge crowds still turned out to watch the race, with spectators at least six deep in many parts.
The powerful Kenyan team features 2011 world champion Edna Kiplagat, last year’s world silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo and Mary Keitany, the fastest woman in the world this year.
While Britain’s Paula Radcliffe had earlier withdrawn due to injury, Freya Murray, Claire Hallissey and Mara Yamauchi were all competing for gold.
As the rain fell, dozens of people took to Twitter today to report the poor weather throughout the capital.
Alex Deakin, a BBC weather presenter, tweeted: “Beautiful sunrise over Olympic park this morning. The calm before (and after) the storm, another day of heavy showers and hopefully golds.”