Sunderland braced for downpours as North East faces second onslaught of severe weather

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SEVERE weather is on course to hit the North East once again.

Forecasters have issued a severe weather alert, predicting thunder and heavy showers tomorrow and Saturday, which could see a month’s rain fall in 48 hours.

The brunt of the downpours is expected to hit the region tomorrow.

Met Office experts made the grim prediction just a week after torrential downpours lashed the North East.

A supercell storm swept across parts of the region last Thursday afternoon.

Wearside escaped the worst of the downpour as homes were flooded, cars abandoned, public transport halted and schools closed as the freak conditions struck.

Three Washington schools were shut due to flooding, hundreds of Wearside homes were left without power and events were cancelled at Herrington Burn Country Park.

Pupils were yesterday due to return to classes at a one storm-hit school.

All but two rooms at Lambton Primary School in Washington were damaged by the muddy water, which gushed in during the flood.

Three skips of damaged furniture, carpets and equipment have already been cleared as the school’s staff work with Sunderland City Council to prepare the building for refurbishment.

Three classes were set to return to lessons using a community room attached to the school, an old nursery building and a room at Oxclose School.

It is not known when it will fully reopen or the financial impact of the damage, which will be met through insurance.

Luckily, most of the 259 pupils’ work was already stored on shelves, keeping it well away from the water.

Headteacher Amanda Defty and other senior teachers were at an evening conference in Chester-le-Street when they got a call from site supervisor Nigel Manser alerting them to the flood.

She said: “I was close to tears when I saw the devastation.

“Anybody that has seen it has said they can’t believe it.

“We didn’t need the fire brigade but the local authority came to pump out water.”

The Environment Agency has issued flood warnings for the whole weekend, with more than 60mm of rain set to fall in just 36 hours.

David Dangerfield, regional director for the Yorkshire and North East region of the Environment Agency, said: “Our thoughts are with those people whose homes and businesses have already been affected by flooding.

“Our staff have been out working hard to provide communities with as much assistance and information as possible.”