Torrential rain and lightning cuts power for 38,000

Lightning strike photographed by Mark Cooper Image copyright Mark Cooper
Image caption Lightning struck over Low Newton in Northumberland at about 06:00 BST

Torrential rain and thunderstorms caused power to be lost in thousands of homes and businesses overnight.

Northern Powergrid said about 38,000 properties in the North East were affected, with 1,500 yet to be reconnected.

A lightning strike damaged railway signalling between Durham and Morpeth, causing widespread disruption.

Many homes in parts of Teesside, County Durham and Northumberland were also affected.

Image copyright Paul McLean
Image caption The storm passed over Newcastle at about 04:30 BST

A spokesman for Northern Powergrid said: "Engineers have successfully restored customers since the storms started in the early hours by diverting electricity through alternative routes on its network, wherever possible.

"The electricity distributor is continuing to monitor the weather and has taken action with additional staff being drafted into repair the damage the lightning storms have caused to parts of North East's power network.

"We have also had the helicopter ready to fly today, weather conditions permitting, to carry out network inspections and help spot any damage so repairs can be carried out as soon as possible."

Image copyright Ian Glendinning
Image caption A moonbow framed a lightning strike at 04:00 BST in the Coquet Valley

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