THE remnants of Hurricane Katia battered the region with 71mph winds after crossing the Atlantic, on Tuesday, September 13, 2011.

Felled trees and branches littered roads across the North-East and North Yorkshire and created delays for both motorists and rail passengers.

Problems with overhead wires hampered train services between Durham and Darlington while a number of roads were closed and buildings were left damaged by the gusts.

At Loftus, East Cleveland, gusts were measured at 71mph.

Police in North Yorkshire said they responded to dozens of reports of felled trees and branches blocking roads and damaging vehicles.

The A19 Tees flyover was completely closed after Cleveland Police earlier tried to slow traffic down to allow safe crossing.

One driver who had a lucky escape was Andrew White, assistant news editor at The Northern Echo, who was unable to avoid a large branch which crashed onto the A167, near Newton Aycliffe.

"The car was badly damaged, but it could have been much worse, " he said.

Also that week, plans to reshape the region's Parliamentary constituencies were greeted with incredulity and dismay.

In particular, there was hostility towards the creation of a 1,600 square-mile seat in the west of County Durham. It will be called Consett and Barnard Castle, and will run from the edge of Darlington through Teesdale and Weardale, to Haltwhistle in Northumberland.

John Hodgson, of Ebchester, near Consett, said: "It would be far too big. We just wouldn't see the MP. What were they thinking? Have they lost the plot?"

Finally, one man thanked a woman who saved his life after an assault. Jason Waters met 22-year old Aimee Yule for the first time since she bravely intervened to stop two drunken yobs who were punching and stamping on him in broad daylight in Darlington town centre. Ms Yule stopped the attack then put Mr Waters, who was bleeding heavily, in the recovery position to stop him choking on the blood in his mouth.

He said: "I just cannot thank her enough. She has saved my life. I've ordered her some flowers, but that's not enough. How do you say thanks to somebody who has saved your life?"