Torrential rain, hail and lightning have swung London this week and downpours are set to continue for the rest of the week, but summer may just be round the corner.

Widespread rainfall, hailstones and even lightning were seen across the country on Wednesday, and the rest of the week is not expected to see any improvement, with a ridiculous 17 hours of rain expected from 3am until 7pm on Saturday.

But the weather is set to pick up on Sunday, and Londoners can hopefully look forward to soaring temperatures of 20C, with sunny intervals and light breeze bringing a welcome change in weather.

Political party leaders across England braved the wet weather as they pushed for votes across towns ahead of Thursday's local elections, but voters may be looking to avoid showers today.

Londoners enjoy a drink in the rain - PA

Forecasters say the wet weather is expected to continue in most areas into the weekend, and hail could even cause disruption to roads and public transport, it is warned.

Temperatures are also set to plummet to lows of minus 5C in the coldest spots overnight, with a chilly day for many on Thursday.

Alex Burkill, a Met Office forecaster, told the PA news agency: "Wednesday has been a showery day across the UK, with downpours of heavy rain and hail and even some thunder and lightning.

Londoners enjoy a drink in the rain - PA

Londoners enjoy a drink in the rain - PA

"The east coast of England, including parts of London, central England, Scotland and some areas in Wales were affected, but this should die out in most places by the evening, before it turns quite cold overnight.

"The coldest spots could see temperatures as low as minus 5C, particularly in the north of England and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"For the rest of the week, rainfall will be rather hefty in some places, with as much as 5-10mm falling in just an hour in the worst-affected spots.

"A significant amount of hail could potentially cause some disruption to roads and public transport."

Mr Burkill said heavy downpours will then lash the country on Saturday.

He continued: "Most areas will be affected by heavy and persistent rain and strong winds over the weekend.

"Sunday should be drier for most, with some showers in places, but in the south-east of England, temperatures could climb into the low twenties by the afternoon.

London: Some sunshine is forecast later this week - PA

London: Some sunshine is forecast later this week - PA

"People should make the most of any dry or sunny spots, as it is unlikely to last and the rest of May will be unsettled and changeable for everyone."

The Met Office has put this down to an area of low pressure and a jet stream above the UK, causing unsettled, wetter and cooler conditions

This follows a wash-out bank holiday for many in the capital, combined with a yellow weather warning for wind in the south with gusts of 40-50mph.

April also saw the lowest average minimum temperatures since 1922, the Met Office said, although the month was also the second sunniest on record.