RESIDENTS of a flood-hit community could only watch as water once again cascaded through their estate.
After days in which parts of the North East have seen more than a month’s rainfall, Newburn’s Spencer Court was once again turned into a river.
Elsewhere drivers and train passengers faced a day of frustration and long delays as major routes, including the A19 and the East Coast Main Line, were submerged.
Geoff Woodcock, a director of Dunelm Homes, said he was disappointed that two months after catastrophic flooding on Newburn’s Mill Vale Estate, and six months since an underground culvert collapsed, flooding was still affecting the area.
“We’ve put in 2,000 tons of rock ‘armour’ to protect Spencer Court, the bank below Hareside Walk and the bottom of the culvert – which water was cascading down.
“But we don’t want a water feature, what we want is for it to flow through the culvert.
“Yet yesterday there was not even a limited flow. The deadline Northumberland Estates gave us for putting in a 4ft square tunnel through the blockage on their land was last Friday but that didn’t happen.
“So all the water, when it overtopped upstream at 3pm, ran through the Spencer Court car park.
“Thankfully the ‘armour’ seems to have held up and residents who were watching events went home satisfied they would not have to leave their homes last night.”
But across the region families and businesses prepared for the worst.
Lanchester’s Front Street was closed to traffic with sandbags visible outside several shops, many of which had closed early. That included the town’s Barclays Bank, which had only just fitted a replacement carpet after being damaged on “Thunder Thursday” in June.
In Sunderland, the council warned motorists only to drive if absolutely necessary, and to stagger their journeys home. The A19 was closed between the A690 and the A1018 at various times during the day, and that led to significant tailbacks as people tried to either go through Sunderland or use the A1.
Flooding also led to the closure of the westbound carriageway of the A690 at Houghton Cut.
And in North Tyneside the council sent out “flood patrols” armed with sandbags and pumping equipment to try to prevent homes from being inundated.
Meanwhile, the East Coast Main Line flooded at Killingworth, North Tyneside, and there were also problems between Durham and Northallerton.
Supported by extra drain and gully clearing in known flood hotspots and regular monitoring of the culverts, the response teams hoped to stop any flooding before it happened.
A spokesman for the Met Office said the problem was that after a wet summer, there had been little respite and the ground was still very sodden.
“It means that any more water that falls has a pretty significant impact,” he said.
Durham saw 59mm of rainfall in over two and a half days – more than would be expected for the whole of November – while Albermarle in Northumberland saw more than a third of a month’s rain in 15 hours, he added.