THE region was on flood alert again last night as the storms which caused havoc in Wales and the West Country moved north across Britain.

Families were anxiously watching rising rivers, and there was more misery for rail passengers when the East Coast main line was hit by falling trees at Alnmouth in Northumberland.

The A66 Trans-Pennine route linking Scotch Corner with Penrith was closed to high-sided vehicles and caravans.

The Environment Agency issued flood watches for rivers in Cleveland, the Vale of York, Darlington, the North York Moors, Nidderdale and Wharfedale.

But, once again, it was York which faced the biggest threat with thousands of families, whose homes were flooded last month, facing the nightmare of another disaster last night.

An agency spokesman said two flood warnings were in place on the River Ouse which had started to rise yesterday afternoon.

Officials were anxiously checking levels last night. They were pinning their hopes on a cessation in the torrential rain overnight.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We are advising people to be wary."

Fresh storms sweeping in from the Atlantic devastated the south-west on Thursday night.

A middle-aged couple were swept to their deaths after their car crashed into a river near Crediton, in Devon, while more than 1,000 homes and businesses in south Wales were left without power as a result of gale force winds.

Forecasters were predicting more stormy weather over the weekend with more heavy rain expected tomorrow to add to the half an inch which was expected last night in the North.

Residents in the village of Skinningrove in east Cleveland - hit by floods twice this year - were still apprehensive despite Redcar and Cleveland council starting work on a new flood defences.

Resident, Tom Evans, said: "The council is doing a good job with the defences but, every time it rains, people worry. Some are even reluctant to go to bed on a night."

Last night, Saltburn Bank was closed at Coach Road because of flooding while the rest of the area, still sodden from the floods in November, was becoming increasingly treacherous with standing water and spray on roads.

Skinningrove Beck had risen slightly and was very fast-flowing but residents were hoping the one tonne sandbags added after recent floods would hold the water back.

In the village of Carlin How, and throughout the district, residents started putting smaller sandbags outside their homes as a precautionary measure.

And, at Loftus, ten metres of land slid away at Rosecroft Lane, near Rosecroft School.

A spokesman for Redcar and Cleveland council said it was carrying out an investigation and added that the road would only be open from 8am until 4pm over the weekend.

However, last night motorists appeared to be ignoring the signs and continuing up the lane.