HEAVY overnight winds caused major rush hour disruption on road and rail in the region today (Friday January 9).

Gusts of up to 70mph battered the North-East, and North Yorkshire causing damage and disrupting the journey to work.

The biggest hold-up was on the A1(M) in County Durham between junctions 62 and 63, Carrville (Durham City) and Chester-le-Street, which was closed in both directions from about 8.30am.

A prefabricated building blew off a northbound lorry, sending debris flying across the motorway.

Tailbacks quickly built on several surrounding roads as commuters tried to find other routes.

The southbound carriageway was closed for two hours and it was a further two hours before northbound traffic was rolling again

The A66 trans Pennine route was closed to high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorcycles.

A power cut in the early hours hit Lanchester area, near Durham City, closing St Bede’s RC School, and nearby primary schools.

A terraced house’s gable end collapsed in East View, Seaham, near the New Seaham Academy. No-one was hurt.

Wooden stables at Whitehouse Lodge in Saltburn Lane, Saltburn, the home of two miniature Shetland ponies, were destroyed by the winds.

The building was torn from its foundations and landed in the road but Locket and Queenie were unharmed.

Owner Melanie Coupe was shocked, but relieved that the ponies escaped in jury.

Tyne and Wear firefighters dealt with nine incidents between 3am and noon but no casualties were reported.

They included a tree falling against a house in Thornlea Gardens, Low Fell Gateshead, a semi-detached house in Selkirk Street, Jarrow, losing a gable end, and the Waterloo Square shopping centre in South Shields losing part of its roof.

Cars were damaged in Ryhope, near Sunderland, by a children’s trampoline that was blown out of a garden.

Rail services between Scotland and the region were affected for a time, with delays of at least 20 minutes on Cross Country and East Coast services.

All trains were cancelled for several hours north of Edinburgh.

A stretch of the Tyne and Wear Metro railway from South Hylton to Pelaw was closed while debris was cleared from the track.

In York, the main shopping area, Coney Street, was closed while fire crews secured a dislodged roof barrier and the city council closed the Shambles Market amid concerns about safety.

Police and firefighters dealt with trees that had fallen on roads in Thirsk, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Pickering.

Winds eased during the day but gales were forecast to return this evening (Friday, January 9) and continue into the weekend.

The Met Office issued a yellow early warnings for high wind and heavy rain into Saturday.