A tidal surge yesterday caused the River Tyne to reach its highest level for 30 years causing flooding along Newcastle's Quayside
Stormy weather and high tides saw the River Tyne reach its highest level for 30 years.
Parts of Newcastle’s Quayside were left in three feet of water when the river burst its banks yesterday afternoon.
Problems caused by the storm were reported across the region with high winds damaging buildings, knocking down trees and causing travel misery for thousands.
Thousands of people also lost power as workers struggled to cope with power cuts.
On Newcastle’s Quayside workers were evacuated and the road was closed from the Law Courts to Chase bar following the tidal surge along the North East coastline.
Pubs and businesses were forced to close as the waters of the Tyne rose and inches-deep water poured over the roads and pavements.
Traffic came to a standstill as the 400-metre stretch between the Tyne Bridge and the Millennium Bridge was flooded almost instantly.
Marie Kennedy, a nurse, was making her way to Tesco Express from her home in Merchant’s Quay on the Quayside when she got caught up in the flood.
The 26-year-old said: “There was a flood warning last night but I didn’t expect anything like this. I didn’t think anything would come of it. I just couldn’t believe it .
“In Wetherspoons the water had come right through the building and back out the other side into the car park. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Scaffolder Christopher Tillbrook, 24, of Jarrow, South Tyneside, said: “It just happened so quick. We were at Greggs this afternoon getting something to eat and now you can’t get past. It’s got worse and worse over the last few hours.
“It’s probably about three feet high. I’ve never seen the River Tyne like this before.”
In Tynemouth, water rose to five metres between 4pm and 5pm yesterday.
Members of the public gathered to watch as Longsands was completely covered and the derelict Tynemouth Outdoor Pool went under water.
People were warned to stay away as North Tyneside Council staff created sand barriers in the area.
Julie Ridley, 54, care worker, of Tynemouth, said: “I came to walk my dog and saw that lots of people were standing around. I looked at the beach and I was absolutely amazed. The whole beach was gone and the waves looked wild. There were a couple of surfers who were trying to catch the waves.
“I have lived in the North East all my life and never have I witnessed something like this before.”
There were also mass power problems across the region as the storm saw thousands of people’s power supplies cut.
Around 11,000 properties in Seaham, County Durham, lost power early in the day and Northumberland County Council lost power to a number of its buildings including Bedlington Council Offices and Bedlington Library.
Northern Powergrid engineers were out in full force working to restore power to customers affected by the storm. The company activated its major incident response plan and all available staff were deployed.
More than 25,000 properties across Northern Powergrid’s area - which takes in the North East, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire - were without power due to the severe conditions.
Anyone expecting to make a start on their Christmas shopping at Newcastle’s Christmas Market at Monument were unable to do so as the stalls were boarded up for the day but normal trading is expected to resume today.
In South Shields the winds caused huge damage to a marquee, which caused South Tyneside Council to close the Christmas Fair.
The Alnwick Gardens also closed its doors for the day.
The Environment Agency (EA), who placed the North East on amber alert, continued to urge communities along the region’s coastline to prepare as best they could for possible flooding as a result of the strong winds and high tides.