Gale force winds and torrential rain batter the North East

Torrential rain and gales battered the North East and caused travel chaos on the trains

It was hard to make progress for both dog and owner as the wind blasted along Blyth Beach in Northumberland yesterday
It was hard to make progress for both dog and owner as the wind blasted along Blyth Beach in Northumberland yesterday

Torrential rain and gales battered the North East and caused chaos on the trains.

Gusts of up to 70mph were recorded at the height of the storm yesterday, which made its way across the region from the west.

The Met Office had an orange severe weather warning in place until yesterday evening urging people to be prepared for the strong winds.

And the weather brought more misery for passengers on East Coast trains as they were forced to run at a reduced speed, adding 80 minutes on to journeys and causing delays.

Ticket restrictions were lifted but the company urged passengers only to travel if absolutely necessary.

Minor delays were also reported on Northern Rail services, as they too had to run at a reduced speed.

On the roads, a tree was blown down on the A192 between Morpeth and Cramlington, in Northumberland, bringing power cables down with it. The road was closed for more than four hours while it was removed.

The A66 was closed to high-sided vehicles in both directions between the A685 junction, in Brough, and the A67 junction, in Bowes, Cumbria, because of the winds.

And the B6348 New Road in Chatton, Northumberland, at the Old Road junction was blocked because of flooding.

At Newcastle International Airport, flight FR172 from Dublin, due in at 10.35am, was delayed for more than four hours because of the storms hitting Ireland.

The Environment Agency yesterday issued two flood alerts for the North East on the River Tees in Teesside.

Police are advised the public to take extra care when out in the severe weather.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “Pedestrians should watch out for debris blown into their path and motorists should maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and take particular care around motorcyclists and cyclists.

“Drivers of high-sided vehicles, motor homes or cars towing caravans should be extra cautious, especially when driving on exposed roads.”

Helen Roberts, from the Met Office, said: “We have had another strong storm pushing in from the west on Friday.

“It brought a spell of rain and very strong winds in places. The rain fell on already-saturated ground following Monday’s storm, so that is going to bring new problems.”

The Environment Agency warning of more “significant disruption” across southern England, saying: “It is possible that heavy rain may worsen the current flooding situation in some areas with rivers responding quickly to rain falling on already saturated ground.”

The rain will exacerbate ongoing river flooding across the Somerset Levels, River Severn, River Thames and River Ouse in Cambridgeshire and rivers across Essex, as well as along the River Medway and the Kentish Stour around Ashford and Canterbury.

There are 52 flood warnings and 157 flood alerts in place, but the EA said the number of alerts may increase as rivers respond to the further band of rainfall.

It comes after more than 43,000 people were left without power following Monday night’s storm and around 1,200 properties were flooded in England.

The winds were expected to ease last night and the rain was also expected to stop.

Today, will be a dry and breezy day for most places in the North East, with sunny spells. There will be a few showers around and it will feel quite cold in the wind. The maximum temperature will be 6°C.

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