North East enjoys Bank Holiday sunshine while other regions remain on alert after 20,000 lightning bolts in 'mother of all thunderstorms'

We're set to enjoy sunshine and warmer temperatures for the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend - and we're the ones to have the weather luck for once.

Sunday, 27th May 2018, 10:56 am
Updated Sunday, 27th May 2018, 11:01 am
Photo taken from Instagram with permission from @samueltwilkinson of lightning over The Shard in central London on Saturday.

While we're not in for a scorcher, we're definitely faring better than those further south. A Met Office warning of heavy thunderstorms is in place until 6am on Monday, covering much of England and all of Wales.

The North East, however, is forecast for temperatures of up to 22C today with sunny weather and an easterly breeze. Tomorrow is forecast for sunny spells and temperatures of around 19C, with some must and low cloud potentially lingering on the coast.

The UK was struck by lightning between 15,000 and 20,000 times as the "mother of all thunderstorms" rolled across southern England overnight, meteorologists said.

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The London Fire Brigade said it had taken more than 500 weather-related calls as the warm and humid bank holiday weather broke down into an "utterly intense" storm.

In Warwickshire, the fire service said five properties were struck by lightning in the early hours of Sunday, while in Dawlish, Devon, a telephone box burst into flames after a BT pole was hit on Saturday evening.

Western Power Distribution said nearly 1,000 properties had been left without power across the Midlands, with the majority of outages down to lightning.

A cluster of 17 flood alerts has been issued for parts of the Thames Valley, while West Midlands and Bedfordshire fire services warned motorists of the risks of driving on flood-hit roads.

Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said information suggested there were "somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 strikes across the UK during the overnight period".

The LFB said it had taken 505 weather-related calls overnight, although the majority were down to flooding and no fires were reported to have been started by lighting strikes.

Torrential rain at Kew Gardens, in south-west London, saw more than half an inch of rain fall in an hour.

As it played out in dramatic fashion, skies exploded with light and sound over the capital and across southern England.

BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker tweeted: "Mother of all #thunderstorms now over London. Oh boy! This UTTERLY INSANE. I've never seen a storm with such frequent lightning in my life I don't think. Mostly sheet lightning and not too loud but flashes are spectacular."

James Brewin captured the moment Big Ben and Westminster were illuminated by a flash of lightning, describing it as "London in daylight at midnight for a split second".