STORM Ciara wreaked havoc across the region with heavy rain and strong winds causing flooding, powercuts and travel disruption.

Parts of the Yorkshire Dales including Swaledale and Richmondshire saw some of the worst flooding, with roads also completely submerged in Arkengarthdale and Wensleydale.

The police and fire services urged people not to travel unless completely necessary and multiple trains were cancelled due to the stormy conditions.

Nationally the Environment Agency issued more than 200 flood warnings and around 170 alerts for Sunday.

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A stranded Maserati in the Dales Picture: THOMAS BERESFORD

This included a severe flood warning, meaning a danger to life, for the River Nidd at Pateley Bridge and Bewerley, in North Yorkshire.

The River Wear in Durham breached its banks and flooded across the riverside walkways around The Racecourse on the outskirts of the city.

There were multiple flood alerts along the length of the River Tees and Swale and social media was awash with footage of motorists stranded on submerged roads across the North.

Even major routes in and out of the region, including the A64 and A1(M), were affected by a significant amount of standing water, making them hazardous.

Croft Bridge on the A167 south of Darlington was shut for part of Sunday afternoon as river levels rose dangerously high and flooded parts of Hurworth Place.

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And the B6270 Reeth Road at Grinton was rendered impassible as the carriageway partially subsided.

Speaking on Sunday, North Yorkshire’s Roads Policing Sergeant Neale Rees said: “Hours of extremely heavy rain have taken a toll on our road network, and in many places water is pooling faster than it can drain.”

Askrigg farmer and Hawes Mart director Alan Kirkbride said the Wensleydale valley had been turned into a ‘big lake’ by the heavy rainfall.

He said: “The water has gone through two or three different houses, just the amount of it, you can’t control it.

“We as farmers have cleared some of the gulleys out with tractors and made holes in the walls to take the power out of the water, but the amount of water that is there is just overpowering.

“When we had the floods at the end of July that was a cloudburst and you can’t do anything about it, but that sort of rain only affected a very small area.

“This is general rain and right through the valley of Wensleydale across Askrigg down to Bainbridge, it is just like one big lake.

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“The A684 was closed because it was under several feet of water.

“We will know more about the damage caused once the water has gone down, I would imagine there is a lot of fence and wall damage but hopefully not too many buildings.”

Meanwhile, staff in the Force Control Room at North Yorkshire Police handled dozens of calls due to Storm Ciara, including flooded roads, trapped motorists, fallen trees, escaped livestock and even a shed that had blown onto a road and blocked it.

A spokesman said on Sunday: “No corner of the county has escaped today’s bad weather, and our Force Control Room and frontline officers have dealt with a large range and high volume of weather-related incidents.

“We’re working closely with other organisations including North Yorkshire’s Highways team to keep routes as clear as possible and divert motorists if absolutely necessary.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of homes across Teesside and Darlington were affected by powercuts due to gale force winds, with Northern Powergrid confirming that 620 properties in the DL6 and TS15 postcode areas experienced power disruption.

Firefighters from both County Durham and North Yorkshire fire and rescue service were out in numbers dealing with stranded cars and flooded roads across the county.

They used pumps to try and drain floodwater away from roads and properties and also attended to several stranded motorists.

A spokesman for the Richmondshire team of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service pleaded with motorists to help by not taking unnecessary journeys or trying to drive through floodwater.

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North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les said the authority’s highways teams had been out in force over the weekend working with partner agencies to clear flooded roads.

He said the council was not anticipating the damage caused by Storm Ciara to be as severe as the flash flooding in Swaledale last summer, but it had still brought plenty of disruption across the county.

He said: “This storm is much more widespread than the overwhelming rainfall in July so we do have a lot of roads flooded, but we don’t have anything like the biblical proportions of water that took out buildings and walls in July.

“So in that respect it probably isn’t as severe in its impact but it is a great nuisance when roads are closed, particularly in the Dales where there aren’t easy diversions available.

“It’s not so bad in the Vale of York and towns and cities where there are lots of alternative routes, but in the Dales, a diversion could be 25-miles long.”

A Met Office yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place for western areas of the region on Monday, including the Dales and Pennines.