MORE rain and cold weather is expected today as the region recovers from yet another day of flood misery yesterday.
In Durham, the River Wear burst its banks, submerging nearby streets and car parks, while further north large swathes of the county’s Riverside cricket ground in Chester-le-Street, where England will play Australia in the Ashes next summer, were under water.
Rail travellers had a torrid time as high winds and rain brought down overhead cables and swamped lines between Newcastle and York, and drivers fared little better, with A19 sliproads closed and cars on the A66 forced to crawl along at just 15mph. Last night, 38 flood warnings and 28 flood alerts were still in place for the North East, and the Environment Agency was warning that some rivers might not yet have peaked.
A spokesman for the Highways Agency, Mark Schofield, urged road users in the North East to think whether they really needed to travel before setting out.
“We are doing everything we can to keep our network of motorways and major A-roads open, and we are working hard to clear the floodwater from our roads and prevent further flooding from occurring,” he said.
“However, with further showers forecast and the risk of continued water run-off from surrounding fields, we cannot rule out the possibility of additional flooding.
“We urge drivers to check the weather and traffic conditions before setting out, and to delay journeys if at all possible.
“If you must travel, allow plenty of time for your journey and take extra care when driving in wet conditions.”
But even drivers who yesterday turned to the trains found their routes blocked by cancellations and long delays.
Frustrated Nichol Cunningham, 26, from South Shields, said she would have avoided coming to Newcastle Central Station if she’s known about the cancelled trains.
“When I checked on the website at home everything was running fine, and I then got to the station and they were cancelled,” she said.
Grandparents Jerry and Alessandra Martin were hoping to travel back to London after a five-week stay with their daughter and new grandchild in Whitley Bay.
But after an hour’s wait they returned to their daughter’s home, with no certainty their £100 tickets would be valid when services did start running again.
“It’s awful,” Alessandra said. “I’m supposed to be working tomorrow and all this coming and going from the station in taxis is costing a lot of money.
“We don’t know whether we have to buy more tickets or if we’ll get money back because we booked online.”
An East Coast spokesman said: “On Monday, flooding at two different points on the route, at Daw Lane Bridge in Doncaster, and Eyrholme, near Darlington, resulted in temporary speed restrictions put in place, which caused delays to services.