A series of sinkholes have opened up across the country after Storm Ciara ripped through Britain this weekend.

Over the weekend a video of a sinkhole opening up in the garden of a Rochdale home was widely reported.

Now a motorist had a miracle escape after driving their car into a sinkhole in Brentford.

The massive hole appeared in the early hours of this morning as Storm Ciara raged.

The Oldham Times:

Pictured - Ollie Watson, 50, happened upon the scene this morning

Pictures from the bizarre incident in Brentwood shows what appears to be a Toyota nose first in the huge hole.

Another sinkhole opened up at a property in Rochdale on Sunday. Amanda Webster filmed the fast-flowing water behind houses in Woodlands View in Belfield on Sunday.

But why do sinkholes open up during bad weather?

The cause of a sinkhole is fairly straightforward. It's the stuff immediately below the surface shifting to somewhere else.

A sinkhole can range anywhere between a slight depression in the ground right up to an enormous hole reaching down half a kilometre. The world's deepest sinkhole is in Chongquig, China, reaching down 662 metres.

They have no natural surface drainage, so any water that gets into a sinkhole can't get out via the surface — and so usually drains downward, into the subsurface layers.

Sinkholes tend to form when rainwater comes into contact with a certain type of soft rock - such as chalk or limestone - and dissolves it, leaving a gap deep in the ground.

The land on the surface then collapses into this gap.

The rainwater is able to dissolve soft rock like this, after seeping through the top layers of soil and having CO2 added to it, which makes it more acidic.

What are the warning signs?

In many cases sinkholes don't form suddenly — they build up slowly over many months or years.

Its the last stage, when the formation of the hole or basin is at the very surface, that's sudden.

Here are signs that might indicated you have a slow-burning sinkhole on your hands:

- Fresh cracks in the foundations of houses and buildings

- Cracks in interior walls

- Cracks in the ground outside

- Depressions in the ground

- Trees or fence posts that tilt or fall

- Doors or windows become difficult to open or close

- Rapid appearance of a hole in the ground