SEVERE gale force winds are battering the North-East and North Yorkshire this evening causing widespread disruption, and heavy rain combined with melting snow has flooded rivers and weakened bridges.


North Yorkshire Police have issued an urgent safety warning as temperatures are expected to drop overnight.

A spokeswoman said: "The wet roads will become treacherous and police are warning motorists to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary.

"If they do take to the roads in the morning, please take extra care, drive according to the road conditions and beware of black ice."

Motorists have also been warned not to move road signs closure barriers.

"A number of motorists have ignored them or moved them, and have subsequently become stuck in flood water," said the spokeswoman.

"It is also very dangerous for other road users who may believe the road is open when it is not, putting them at risk of becoming stranded."


Police are asking motorists to avoid the Reeth area of the Yorkshire Dales because of the flooding.

The bridge over the River Swale on the B6270 at Grinton near Reeth remains closed after partially collapsing.

The bridge between Low Lane and the B6270 south west of Healaugh at Low Whita Farm is closed.

The A6108 between Leyburn and Reeth and the A684 between Leyburn and Hawes are closed.

Richmondshire District Council have delivered sandbags to a number of properties in the area, anyone else who requires them can contact the council’s 24-hour help line on 01748-829100.

Police are warning motorists not to move the road closure barriers as a number of motorists have ignored them or moved them, and have subsequently become stuck in flood water.


North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue say their crews have attended four flooding incidents and rescued five people from three separate locations in Richmondshire.

A spokeswoman said road conditions in Richmondshire remain poor, and drivers should avoid Langthwaite, the A684 at Bainbridge, the B6270 from Healaugh to Reeth and the A684 at Worton.

In some areas, rivers have burst their banks and flooded across roads.

The spokeswoman said drivers should not attempt to pass through floods, as the depth could be misleading, and urged motorists to take a torch and wear appropriate clothing if they are on the roads tonight.


North Yorkshire Police have confirmed a search is ongoing near the Swing Bridge in Reeth after torchlight was seen near the river. Emergency service, search and rescue teams and air support units are involved, but police have stressed that nothing has yet been found, and no-one has been reported missing.

The main bridge in Grinton has collapsed, and police have concerns for a second bridge at Low Witter Farm on the B6270.

The A6108 between Leyburn and Reeth and the A684 between Leyburn and Hawes are closed.

Fire fighters rescued a man from a car stuck in floodwater at Gunnerside.

Two people were rescued by an RAF search and rescue helicopter from RAF Kinloss after their car was trapped in floods near Aysgarth.

They were airlifted to the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton suffering from suspected hypothermia.

The Ambulance Service has confirmed that a specialist water hazard team has been sent to Richmond Ambulance Service.

Meanwhile, a 50mph speed restriction has been placed on all high-speed trains travelling on the East Coast Main Line between York and Edinburgh. Services beyond the Scottish capital have been cancelled and travellers advised to seek shelter.

Wind speeds of more than 70mph have already been recorded in the North-East and weather forecasters say the worst is yet to hit.

Winds are expected to reach a peak between 9pm and midnight as the storm pulls away to the north of Scotland.

Police said tonight that they were flat out dealing with calls and the Environmental Agency issued six flood warnings.

More on this story as we get it.