ESSEX is being warned to prepare for "severe, damaging" thunderstorms this afternoon.

The Essex Weather Centre said parts of the county are likely to be hit from 3pm today, as temperatures creep up to 31 degrees celcius.

As we move into the evening, thunderstorms are projected to continue into the evening and overnight but should clear after midnight.

Most areas will be dry and sunny tomorrow morning.

However, a band of heavy showers will quickly move eastwards through Essex during the morning and will bring a fresher feel.

The maximum temperature will also drop to 22 degrees celcius.

Sunday is projected to be mainly dry but patch rain could arrive.

Monday and Tuesday will have mix of sunshine and showers before unbroken sunshine takes hold by the middle of next week.