North East icy blast on the way after rain soaks the region

STORM-SOAKED families across the North East have been deluged by more than one and a half times the usual November rainfall in just a week.

Snow on Blencathra in the Lake District

STORM-SOAKED families across the North East have been deluged by more than one and a half times the usual November rainfall in just a week.

Met Office forecasters said flooding in recent days is hardly surprising as many lowland areas, which still have not recovered from summer downpours, are being drenched by far more water than would be expected at this time of year.

And the Environment Agency is warning householders to remain on their guard, even though the weather forecast is improving and the risk of significant flooding is hopefully much reduced.

Latest figures show that approximately 1,100 homes across Britain have been flooded since November 21, with flood defences protecting 52,000 others and more than 106,000 families receiving a flood warning.

John Curtin, head of incident management at the Environment Agency, said: “Our thoughts remain with those that have been affected by flooding.

“Rainfall is set to ease over the next days but there are still areas we are closely monitoring and we urge people to remain especially vigilant, and keep up to date with the latest flood warnings.

“With so much standing water around, we would also remind people to stay out of flood water and not attempt to walk or drive through it.”

But while motorists yesterday fared better than in previous days, many trains were still delayed, cut short or cancelled.

East Coast said 37 services were affected with many journeys between London and Scotland terminating at Newcastle and York as flooding at Ferryhill, between Durham and Darlington, blocked lines. Transpennine Express trains faced similar problems.

A spokesman for East Coast said Network Rail engineers were doing everything possible to keep trains moving, bus replacement services were in operation, and some services began stopping at extra stations to try and help passengers on their way.

“Customers can access information via www.eastcoast.co.uk, on Twitter, @eastcoastuk, or by calling National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50,” he said.

However, the rail operator admitted problems would likely continue well into this morning.

Meanwhile walkers in the Lake District made the most of the wintry weather that has already hit Cumbria, and which forecasters say could freeze the North East with an icy blast before the week’s end.

The Met Office has issued a level two cold weather alert for the 24 hours from 6am on Friday, with warnings that sharp overnight frosts and generally low overnight temperatures will bring an increased likelihood of ice.

Today, while likely to be relatively clear and sunny, temperatures will struggle to rise above freezing, with wind chill making it feel closer to minus 3C.

Tomorrow the North East could wake up to find it feels more like minus 5C outside, and by the evening rush hour, showers could have returned.

We urge people to remain vigilant, and keep up to date with the latest flood warnings

 
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