A WEATHER warning for rain has been issued for the entire north of the UK on Thursday.

Heavy rain is set to batter East Lancashire from noon and last for nine hours, according to the Met Office.

The forecaster has predicted the bad weather will stretch from Bolton through East Lancashire and across to the east coast.

A Met Office spokesman said: "Heavy showers and thunderstorms may cause some travel disruption and flooding in places during Thursday afternoon and evening."

The Met Office said there is a small chance business and homes may be damaged by floodwater.

Spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures.

On the Met Office website, a spokesman said: "Even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen.

"A good rule of thumb is 'if it's time for your wipers, it's time to slow down'.

"If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears.

"If you can, choose main roads, where you are less likely to be exposed to fallen branches and debris and flooding."