AN interactive map shows where lightning strikes are occurring as the North East is braced for thunderstorms later today.

LightningMaps shows in real-time where strikes and flashes occur with a simulation of the event rendered over the affected area.

Using a network of station operators, who have their own lightning detectors, the map is based on hundreds of them to transmit their data as soon as it happens.

It means there could be a slight delay in the playback of a lightning strike, but it is believed to carry a high accuracy rate in the reporting of location and time.

WEATHER WARNING: Thunderstorm and heavy rain expected in North East

The Northern Echo: Picture: LIGHTNING MAPSPicture: LIGHTNING MAPS

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for thunderstorm and heavy rain for the whole North East and North Yorkshire region.

Forecasters have warned residents to expect adverse weather from 10am right through to 8pm this evening.

They've said there is a small chance that homes and businesses could be quickly flooded, with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning, hail or strong winds.

It said where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services.

Meanwhile, spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures.

It added that there is a small chance that some rural communities could temporarily become cut off by flooded roads.

What forecasters have said

A spokesperson said: "Following overnight rain and showers, more intense showers and thunderstorms are expected to break out fairly widely from late-morning, before easing during the evening.

"Whilst many areas will miss the most intense storms, torrential downpours are likely in a few places.

"Where these occur, there is potential for 20 to 30 mm of rain in less than an hour and up to 40 mm in 2 hours.

"This will have the potential to generate surface water flooding, especially if it falls over an urban area."

To view the map - click here 

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