North East travel chaos as torrential rain hits the region

RAIN caused disruption throughout the region yesterday as pools of water closed roads.

A police officer walks through flood water on the A19 near Sunderland

RAIN caused disruption throughout the region yesterday as pools of water closed roads.

Police urged motorists to take extra care as the roads filled with Christmas shoppers on top of the usual rush-hour traffic.

And the Met Office forecasters say there is more to come in the run-up to the holidays ... though the North East can expect sunshine on Christmas morning next Tuesday.

Yesterday, the northbound A19 was shut between Testo’s roundabout in South Tyneside and the Boldon turn-off as pools of water began to collect in the road.

The A19 southbound was closed but reopened with a warning of substantial standing water.

The northbound A19 in the Seaham area from the B1404 remained closed until late last night.

Meanwhile, Stamfordham Road, out of Westerhope, between Callerton village and the White Cottage, went down to one lane and, as a precaution, Walbottle Road in Newburn was also closed.

John Halliday, a support worker from Newton Hall, Durham, encountered problems as he made his way home from a shopping trip to the Metrocentre.

He said: “I found the conditions horrendous; poor visibility with large amounts of water on the roads resulting in the flow of traffic practically grinding a halt. I had to make a detour to get home.”

The Met Office said its Yellow Warning is likely to remain in place until Christmas Eve.

Mike Parr, 18, who lives in Millfield in Sunderland, travelled back home from university yesterday.

He said: “It was a bit scary driving back from Newcastle and it took me about an hour to get back home.

“The rain was quite deceiving and there was quite a lot of spray coming up from other cars.

“In some other roads there were just pools of water, I had to slow right down to make sure we were safe.”

A Newcastle city centre store was cordoned off over fears of falling roof tiles as the downpour continued. Police were called at around 11am to the Urban Outfitters store, on Grainger Street.

A section of the pavement was closed to protect Christmas shoppers.

Charles Powell, forecaster with the Met Office, said heavy rain was recorded over a 24-hour period in Tyneside, Northumberland and County Durham.

He said: “There is going to be persistent rain throughout the night and it is going to be quite cloudy with patchy rain (today) and there might be a glimmer of sunshine. On Saturday there will be another band of rain with the weather becoming wet and windy.

“This will linger until Christmas Eve when it will become drier.”

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