TEN flood warnings are in place across the North-East and thousands of homes have lost power as Storm Desmond takes a grip on the region.

The Environment Agency is continuing to warn residents and businesses to check their flood risk as rain continues.

As of 8.50am on Saturday morning, ten flood warnings are in place, with more expected to be issued throughout the rest of today.

  • Have you been affected by the weather? Send your reports, photos and videos to newsdesk@nne.co.uk or use #echoweather

The Northern Echo:

A vehicle makes its way along a flooded road near Hawes, North Yorkshire. Photo courtesy: Thomas Beresford.

Flood warnings are currently in place for the River South Tyne at Haltwhistle, Slaggford and Lambley, and two at Haydon Bridge.

There are also two warnings in place for the River Tyne at Corbridge, and at Bywell and Prudhoe, and Ovingham and Low Prudhoe, as well as one for the River Wear at Lower Stanhope and one at Hurworth Place on the River Tees.

Rain is expected to continue for the rest of the day, affecting rivers at North and South Tyne, the top of the River Wear and the lower Tees.

In particular, there are concerns about high river levels in Corbridge and Haydon Bridge, which could lead to flooding.

The North East Incident Room is open and throughout Friday and overnight into this morning, Environment Agency staff have been working around the clock to check and maintain flood defences, clear bockages, keep screens clear and monitor water levels.

Flood gates at Yarm and Croft have been closed this morning.

The Environment Agency’s Paul Constantine said: “The heavy rain overnight has led to high river levels across the North-East, and with more rain expected there is a risk of flooding.

“We’ve had teams out on the ground overnight monitoring river levels and removing blockages from screens to keep the rivers flowing, and we’re working closely with our partners.

The Northern Echo:

Durham Road Policing Unit posted this photo of a fallen tree blocking a road.

“It’s vital people keep up to date with the latest flood warning information. There are currently flood warnings in place and more are expected throughout today.

“People are advised to stay away from swollen rivers and if you are travelling, check the flood risk before you set off. The public should not attempt to drive through flood water – 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.”

The Northern Echo:

Cllr Gary Marshall sent in this photo of the river in Barnard Castle.

Residents and businesses are advised to be prepared and check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation at www.gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding, or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

They can also stay up to date by following @EnvAgencyYNE and #floodaware on Twitter.

The storm has caused power cuts for around 23,000 customers predominantly in Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear. 

Engineers restored customers since the severe weather hit at 7pm last night by diverting electricity supplies, where possible, through alternative routes on its network despite storm force winds making it difficult for engineers to climb and repair the damage caused to overhead power lines by fallen trees and flying debris.

A Northern Powergrid spokeswoman said: “We have invested in maintaining and upgrading our network but weather like Storm Desmond can result in debris and fallen trees damaging our overhead power lines.

“Our engineers have worked throughout the night, diverting electricity through alternative routes on our network, to restore power to the majority of our customers affected.

The Northern Echo:

Another photo of the river in Barnard Castle by Cllr Gary Marshall.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience caused and thank our customers for their patience while we carry out the necessary repairs.  We’d like to reassure them that our engineers are working hard, in what is very challenging weather conditions, to get the remaining customers who are still without power back on as soon as possible.”

Highways England issued a Severe Weather Alert for high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorcycles in the North, with an increased risk of vehicles being blown over.

At 11am Highways England reported that the A66 was blocked eastbound between the A67 and the A1 at Scotch Corner due to an overturned HGV. Durham Police were said to be on the scene.

The Northern Echo:

A fallen tree at Lartington in Teesdale Photo: Peter Dixon

A tree came down down at Lartington, in Teesdale. Volunteers from Rotters cleared the debris.

Thorngate Bridge, in Barnard Castle, has been closed for safety reasons as well.

The A19 Tees Viaduct in Middlesbrough was closed to high-sided and vulnerable vehicles in both directions between A66 and A1046, due to strong winds. Local diversions were in place.

Durham Road Policing Unit posted a photo of a fallen tree blocking a road overnight, writing on Twitter: "Don't ddrive unlwess you have to. Nature is in a destructive mood."

The Northern Echo:

Damage caused to Cotherstone Church.

Cleveland Police cordoned off the Redcar Beacon on Saturday morning after  winds caused damage to the structure.

While Durham Police closed off Front Street in Shotton Colliery due to fallen electricity cables. 

Police received reports of flooding in parts of Hexham on Saturday morning.

There was said to be heavy surface water and flooding in the Corbridge area.

The Northern Echo:

The Redcar Beacon has been damaged by the high winds. Photos: Redcar NPT

Motorists were advised to avoid the area until the water subsides.

Emergency services and the local authority are responding to the situation and are dealing with the surface water.

Superintendent Geoff Logan said: "We are working closely with the other emergency services and partner agencies to plan and respond to flooding.

"Extra officers are in the area speaking with residents and offering reassurance.

The Northern Echo:
An overturned lorry on the A66 near Brough, as Storm Desmond hits the UK

"People seeking advice about flooding in their area can visit the Environment Agency website for information about flooding.

"We are asking people to monitor local media for the latest updates.

At 11.30am it was reported the traffic lights on the County Bridge in Barnard Castle were out and a tree had come down on the town’s Crook Lane, blocking the road.

The Polar Express in Weardale was cancelled due to the weather.

A spokeswoman said: “All trains for today have been cancelled and we are in the process of calling everybody. It has been cancelled because it is too windy and there are floods, but we expect it to be back on tomorrow.”

Anyone with concerns about their safety should contact police on 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.