ROAD users are urged to take care with heavy rain and strong winds due to hit the region this afternoon.

Met Office forecasters have issued a severe weather alert for the North-East – with gales up to 80mph a possibility.

The Highways Agency is advising road users to plan their journeys before setting out, check weather conditions, leave extra time for their journeys if travel conditions are poor, and delay their journey if the weather becomes severe.

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Traffic Management Director Simon Sheldon-Wilson said: “We are constantly monitoring the potential impact of weather on our network and are keeping a close eye on the current situation."

Winds are expected to strengthen up to 60 to 70mph across the North-East and may reach 80mph over the most exposed routes along the coast and on higher ground.

This will be strong enough to cause severe damage to trees, structural damage and a risk from flying debris, thus likely to generate disruption on parts of the network.

There is a particular high risk that high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes could be blown over and the Highways Agency, in conjunction with the Met Office, are strongly advising that these types of vehicles avoid, if possible, the following sections during the severe weather.

North East

M1 J32 (M18 interchange)
M1 J34 (Tinsley Viaduct/Rotherham)
M1 J39-J40 (Crigglestone to Dewsbury)
A628 (Woodhead Pass)
M62 J23-J25 (Huddersfield to Brighouse)
M62 J31-J32 (Normanton to Pontefract)
M62 J35a-J36 (Rawcliffe Bridge, M18 interchange to J36 Goole)
M62 J36-J37 (River Ouse / Ouse Bridge)
A1(M) J47-J49 (Between A59 Knaresborough and A168 Dishforth)
A1(M) J58-J65 (Between A1 and Washington at J65)
A66 (Between M6 J40 - A1 (Scotch Corner))
A19 (Hylton Bridge over River Wear)
A19 (Tees Viaduct)
A19 (Leven Viaduct)
A69 Humber Bridge