Thunderstorms cause rail blockage as they sweep across North East

Rainfall map for 11am on July 20 by the Met Office
Rainfall map for 11am on July 20 by the Met Office
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After a sweltering Tuesday came a stormy Wednesday.

The North East had baked in the sunshine as thermometers topped 30C yesterday.

But today was a different story as storms swept in from the west and hit our region shortly before lunchtime.

Thunder and lightning arrived with the rain and hail, but the storms have been very localised with some areas not seeing any downpours.

Trains between Newcastle and Darlington were stopped for three hours before noon due to a blockage caused by a lightning strike on a signalling system.

The heavy showers also caused dangerous driving conditions for those unfortunate enough to be on the roads as the storms passed over.

The storms will see temperatures dip to the mid-20s and the humidity will also decrease, leaving things feeling much fresher.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkhill said: "We have had the hottest day of the year and we still have warm, humid conditions across much of the UK.

"There's heavy thundery showers across northern parts, with frequent lightning and intense downpours.

"Further south, there will still be local showers, some heavy, but the main picture is it being dry and hot again.

"On Thursday there will be some showers but not as heavy and it will be generally dry for many. There will be temperatures of 25-26C for some, which is above average."

He predicted that temperatures would have peaked following Tuesday's high, and the coming days and nights will feel fresher, bringing relief for those struggling to sleep.

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The forecast for the North East over the coming days:

Today

Generally rather cloudy with heavy and thundery showers. Some torrential downpours likely with gusty winds and a chance of hail. Becoming mostly dry by the evening. Very warm and humid at first, becoming cooler and fresher later. Maximum Temperature 25 °C.

Tonight

Mostly dry overnight with some clear spells and also a few mist patches forming. Feeling cooler and fresher than recent nights. Minimum Temperature 13 °C.

Thursday

Mainly dry with some sunny spells. A few showers may develop through the afternoon. It will feel fresher with temperatures closer to normal. Maximum Temperature 21 °C.

Outlook for Friday to Sunday

Sunny spells and locally heavy showers on Friday. Mostly dry with sunny spells on Saturday. Rather cloudy on Sunday with a band of rain crossing the region. Remaining warm.