THUNDERSTORMS could cause "damage to some buildings" in Essex, weather forecasters have warned as a seven-hour weather warning was issued.

The Met Office has issued a yellow thunderstorm warning covering most of Essex, except Harwich, Manningtree, and the surrounding villages in the Tendring district, which is in force between 11pm on Wednesday and 6am on Thursday.

Forecasters say there is "a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded quickly", warning of damage to some buildings which could be caused by floodwater, lightning strikes, hail, or strong winds.

"There is a slight chance that power cuts could occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost," the Met Office added.

What is the latest weather forecast for Essex?

The Met Office says: "Thunderstorms are expected to move northwestwards across some parts later this evening and overnight bringing spells of heavy rain accompanied by frequent lightning with potential for 15 to 25mm of rain to fall in one or two hours in a few places. Hail and gusty winds may also affect a few spots."

How can I prepare?

The Met Office has urged residents in Essex to consider if their homes are at risk of flash flooding.

"If so, consider preparing a flood plan and an emergency flood kit," it adds.

The warning adds: "Give yourself the best chance of avoiding delays by checking road conditions if driving, or bus and train timetables, amending your travel plans if necessary.

"People cope better with power cuts when they have prepared for them in advance. It’s easy to do; consider gathering torches and batteries, a mobile phone power pack and other essential items.

"If you find yourself outside and hear thunder, protect yourself by finding a safe enclosed shelter (such as a car). Do not shelter under or near trees, or other structures which may be struck by lightning. If you are on an elevated area move to lower ground.

"Be prepared for weather warnings to change quickly: when a weather warning is issued, the Met Office recommends staying up to date with the weather forecast in your area."