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Month's rain could fall today, region is warned; Weekend event organisers bid to beat weather.

Byline: Kim Carmichael

THE region is bracing itself for another wet weekend, with almost a month's worth of rain expected to fall in some places today.

The Met Office yesterday warned of severe weather which is expected to cause disruption across the North East and urged people to be prepared for rain that could fall in excess of 50mm in places, particularly over high ground.

People in parts of Tyneside also found themselves at risk of flooding, with warnings yesterday issued for the River Don tributary in Jarrow, South Tyneside, the River Derwent tributary in Swalwell, Gateshead, and the River Team tributary in Dunston, Gateshead.

A Met Office spokesperson said: "Almost every part of Britain will experience heavy rainfall this weekend; it is a pretty miserable outlook.

"Saturday will bring more heavy showers and although things will improve in the South West on Sunday, there will still be wet weather for the eastern side of the country.

"Looking into the week, there isn't much respite.

We expect it will be generally unsettled, with further outbreaks of heavy rain across the country."

The intense weather will cause concern for those in the region whose homes are at risk of flooding.

Ken Hunt, a spokesman for the Environment Agency, warned people in areas most at risk to regularly check local broadcasts.

"The ground is already wet from the recent bad weather so we are expecting to issue further flood warnings and watches as this weather system arrives," he said.

"Although most of it will be surface flooding as drains overflow, some rivers could also breach their banks."

Despite the weather, organisers of the Durham Military Tattoo are hopeful that the event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army will go ahead.

The show, the largest of its kind outside of London, is set to attract an audience of around 2,000 to Palace Green in front of Durham Cathedral tonight. It is hoped that the rain will not disrupt performances by pipe and military bands, First and Second World War re-enactment groups and displays by Territorial Army units from around the North of England.

A spokesperson last night said: "We're hoping that the rain will not stop the event.

"At the moment, we are planning to go ahead with it unless there is a major disruption."

Beamish Museum was also optimistic that the heavy rain would not put people off visiting this weekend.

The prize leek show, taking place today and tomorrow, will recreate a traditional vegetable and flower show in the appropriate setting of the museum's colliery village. Local gardeners will exhibit home grown produce and a grand auction will close the event.

Jacki Winstanley, publicity manager at Beamish, said: "The leek show will be in a marquee, so it will still be going ahead as normal.

"Whatever the weather, we still expect people to come to Beamish as there are so many different buildings that, provided you are suitably dressed, the rain makes no difference."

This latest bout of severe weather comes just weeks after heavy rain meant that two showpiece events had to be cancelled.

Thousands of fans were left disappointed when England's Twenty20 game against South Africa was called off, as well as a Girls Aloud charity concert planned for Beamish Hall.


NOT ALL GLOOM Craig Hilton didn't let the persistent downpour dampen his spirits as he splashed in a giant puddle in Newcastle's Grainger Street yesterday
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 6, 2008
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