LOOKING back to the week that was December 4 to December 10, fifteen years ago...

WINTRY weather brought the area's roads to a near-standstill during the morning's rush hour on Thursday, December 3, 2008, with thousands of motorists stuck for hours.

Heavy snow, which blew in on December 2, 2008, but was still falling the following morning, caused havoc, with congestion affecting most roads.

Read more: 25 dead in the great Darlington rail disaster

The weight of snow broke power lines, leaving 15,000 homes across North Yorkshire and Teesside without electricity in below-freezing temperatures.

More than 800 homes in the east of the region were affected, with Redcar, Easington, Ingleby Barwick, Great Ayton and Scarborough among the worst-hit.

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A CE Electric spokeswoman said: "We would hope to have around just 3,000 people without power overnight.

"There is a problem of gaining access for the repairs and we have had a helicopter up helping out. "

Environmental conservation students worked hard to improve woodland areas in December 2008.

The pupils from East Durham College spent December 7, 2008, working at Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park, in Billingham, carrying out important thinning work within the established woodland areas.

They hoped it would improve the woodland structure and increase its potential for local wildlife.

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The students were studying NVQs in environmental conservation, and as part of their studies they learned about what work needed to be done to allow the woodland to develop.

Jonathan Pounder, lecturer in environmental conservation at East Durham College, said: "This is part of the ongoing management of the Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park, and I am glad the students are able to offer the park some assistance.

"Hopefully, from their actions, they can make it an even nicer place for local people to visit and use. "