THE North East can expect flooding once the cold snap ends and thawing snow combines with heavy rain, a spokesman for the Environment Agency said yesterday.
The Met Office warned of travel disruptions this morning, following a predicted 4-10cm of snow yesterday evening.
In higher parts of the region, that figure was expected to be 10-20cm of snow.
“People heading out on Saturday in the North East should check travel and transport alerts before they go,” Dan Williams of the Met Office said.
While there would be some bright spells in the day, cold and wind would pick up towards the evening, he said.
The Met Office’s forecasters have put a yellow rain warning out for tomorrow, following an ice warning for today, leading to concerns of possible flooding on the region’s roads.
“Rain is a very effective way of melting snow, especially with temperatures going up as they will be on Sunday,” Mr Williams said. “We could see quite a rapid thaw.”
Some bright spells on Monday combined with winds and some rainfall would set the tone for the rest of the week, he said.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said there was potential for quite a few flood alerts in the region.
He suggested that road users check the agency’s website for detailed warnings and reports as they happened.
The Environment Agency released a statement earlier in the week suggesting building snowmen would slow the thaw and reduce flooding risks, but the idea was soon retracted.
And while much of the North East seemed to be back to normal following several days of snow disruptions, the Met Office warned that the cold could return despite next week’s warmer temperatures.
“That’s not it for winter by any means,” Mr Williams said. “ It’s looking unsettled in the short term. We shouldn’t rule out that there’s more cold or snow to come.”
All schools in the region were open for at least part of the day yesterday, apart from Broom Cottages Primary in Ferryhill, County Durham, which was closed due to a heating failure. Some bin collections in County Durham were also disrupted. Collections could not be made in the Consett, Blackhill, Shotley Bridge and Castleside areas because of ice and localised snowfall, Durham County Council said.
Oliver Sherratt, head of direct services at the council, told residents: “We are aware of your situation, share your frustrations with the conditions created by the extreme snowfall and are determined to get collections back on track as quickly as possible.”
Smaller vehicles would pass through the areas on Monday to collect accumulating bags but would not be able to collect bins, he said. He said normal collections would resume on Tuesday or Wednesday, conditions allowing.