ONE thousands homes at risk from flooding after two days of torrential rain were kept safe by flood defences, officials have revealed.

Scores of flood warnings remained in place across the North-East and North Yorkshire last night - despite the rain easing and allowing river levels to fall in many areas.

Ian Hodge, area manager for the Environment Agency, was in Darlington yesterday to monitor the River Skerne as it threatened to burst its banks and flood homes in the town.

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Mr Hodge said 30mm to 40mm had fallen on the North-East in 36 hours.

“We’ve had some torrential rain.

“There has not quite been two inches but that’s still quite a lot of rainfall that has resulted in some quite elevated river levels.”

However, Mr Hodge said the region had so far escaped without extensive flooding of residential areas.

He added: “The good news is that the river system has generally performed extremely well. The rain which fell on the hills was contained within the rivers.

“Very few properties have been flooded.”

The Environment Agency said the minimal damage to properties was a consequence of the significant investment in flood defences in the region.

Mr Hodge estimated than 1,000 properties had this week been protected by flood defences built within the last ten years.

The work was ongoing with several multi-million pound schemes planned, as well as a large number of smaller projects, he said.

“There won’t be many communities in the North-East where we won’t be looking to see if we can alleviate some flooding problems,” he added.

The schemes include defence work to protect the chemical industry at Seal Sands, near Middlesbrough, and a £20m flood alleviation scheme in Morpeth, Northumberland.

The rain let up yesterday allowing river levels to fall and life in flood-threatened communities to begin to get back to normal.

Hundreds of homes and businesses remained at risk in North Yorkshire, particularly in Pickering, Malton and York.

However, Mark Scott, North Yorkshire Environment Agency manager, said their defences were also standing up to the test.

“Our flood defences are working and keeping people safe,” he added.