MOTORISTS and householders faced misery as up to a month’s worth of rain fell in just 24 hours across the North East.
Torrential downpours and flooding hit Sunderland and Washington, with homes, businesses and roads also affected in Durham City, Chester-le-Street, Seaham, Peterlee and Murton.
The latest updates from Northumbria Police this morning were:
•The A19 – one lane now open between the A1018 and the A690. Delays expected to continue.
•The A19 – northbound section between the A690 and Testos. Both lanes now open
•A182 Washington highway offslip for Mount Pleasant is closed.
•A1231 eastbound is now running freely
•A1290 by Nissan has a flooded section but is passable with care
•A690 at the Houghton Cut is now open
Yesterday the deluges caused major traffic disruption in Sunderland, with the A19 closed between the A690 and the A1018, B1404 and Testos roundabout.
The westbound carriageway of the A690, at Houghton Cut, and Silksworth Lane were also shut.
The eastbound carriageway of the A1231, on the approach to the A19, was badly affected by standing water and Sedgeletch Road, in Houghton, was only passable with care.
Sunderland City Council worked closely with the emergency services to tackle the impact of heavy rain.
A spokeswoman said: “Motorists were being warned to drive only if necessary, to allow extra time for their journeys and take particular care on the roads.
“Drivers were also asked to stagger their journeys home and avoid travelling during the rushhour if at all possible.” A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Officers are advising the public to be prepared as best they can for the weather and to monitor local media and agency websites for up-to-date news and information.
“Motorists are being advised to take care on roads, drive safely and watch out for standing water.
“Drivers are urged to allow extra time for journeys, to use their lights appropriately and drive according to the conditions.
“Drivers are urged not to take risks and drive through areas that have been flooded.”
Elsewhere, motorists on the A1(M), near Durham City and Chester-le-Street, also faced delays, with the B1287 between Seaham and Ryhope affected by flood water at its lowest point. Train services between Seaham and Hartlepool were cancelled and a replacement bus service drafted in after flooding on the line.
Meanwhile, staff and students at Lambton Primary School, in Oxclose, Washington, battled bravely after once again being hit by flooding.
As water rose rapidly outside the school, workmen battled to pump it out.
Earlier this year, the school suffered severe damage and was closed for several days as flooding gushed into the building during heavy rain storms in July.
Helen Purvis, business manager at the Caradoc Close School, said: “This will be the third flood we have been hit with.
“We had workmen trying to pump the water out because it was just about coming in to the school. One of the car parks was flooded and the surrounding area.”
Mrs Purvis said staff did everything they could to keep the school open.
“All we could really do was play it hour by hour and see what happened,” she said.
The flooding also caused a power cut at Holley Park Primary School, in Washington.
Firefighters managed to “keep damage to a minimum” when five properties were threatened with rising waters in South Bents.
A nine-strong crew, along with two water-pumping machines, were sent to the scene.
Drains were reported to be overflowing at Doxford Park and a play area was underwater at Shiney Row.
In Durham City, drivers battled to save their cars from the flood-hit Riverside Car Park and businesses along the River Wear were damaged, while Peterlee’s team, which is equipped with a high-volume pump, was sent to the Honest Lawyer on the outskirts of the city during yesterday afternoon.
The rain is expected to ease today.
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