Network Rail issued extreme weather advice after the Met Office warned of "bouts of heavy rain and strong winds" across Southern England yesterday (August 8).

In particular, the rail authority called on those living close to train lines to assist railway workers with their efforts to keep trains running in severe weather by clearing any loose debris that could find its way onto the train tracks and disrupt services.

"Floods, high winds and landslips can destroy railway infrastructure and block lines, so our teams repair damage and clear debris to ensure trains can continue to run.

"If you live by the railway, please help us by securing any loose garden items that might blow on to the tracks," a Network Rail spokesperson said.

On Thursday, the Met Office issued a Yellow weather warning for London and much of the rest of England in anticipation of "the arrival of the low-pressure system from Friday afternoon..."

"A band of heavy rain followed by heavy showers or thunderstorms has the potential to bring disruption.

"There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded, causing damage to some buildings...Where flooding occurs, there is a slight chance of delays or cancellations to train and bus services," the Met Office warned.

Anticipating disruption from the potentially severe weather, Network Rail said that it had contingency plans in place for possible flooding as it warned of its consequences.

"Flood water in particular can pose problems on the railway.

"Water blocking the lines, as well as debris, silt and mud making its way onto the track, are only part of it.

"The lasting damage that flood water can cause to infrastructure can lead to ongoing repair work that takes days, weeks or even months," a spokesperson said.

Neil Armstrong, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, echoed Network Rail's warning by stressing the potential severity of the incoming weather system for Friday and Saturday.

"This low-pressure system will bring challenging conditions, including unseasonably strong winds and heavy rain, from the west during Friday and Saturday.

"Summer storms — compared with those in autumn and winter — always have the potential to create additional impacts because more people are likely to be outdoors, especially by the coast.

"Additionally with trees in full leaf they are more vulnerable to being brought down by strong winds," he said.