Spring downpours bring funnel clouds to the North East

Heavy spring showers have brought an unusual sight to the skies in our region.

Funnel clouds have appeared, like these ones captured over Gateshead - a clear sign of unsettled, stormy weather.

Storm clouds, or cumulonimbus clouds, can bring heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightning. They can also cause swirling winds at their base - creating a rotating column of water droplets.

These take the form of a tail under the cloud - resembling a funnel.

Funnel cloud over Gateshead Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

If the funnel cloud makes contact with the ground it becomes a tornado - bringing strong swirling winds that can cause severe destruction.

According to the Met Office, in a typical year, the UK sees around 30-35 tornadoes. Although they rarely form in populated areas causing major damage.