HIGH winds caused chaos across Wearside with gusts reaching up to 55mph.
A tree blocked both lanes of the A177 in Shincliffe, on the outskirts of Durham, between the Whinney Hill junction and the B1198 Mill Lane junction, for about an hour yesterday after being blown over. It eventually reopened at about 10am.
A lorry, pictured, was flipped on its side on a busy section of the A1M at about 1pm. Traffic was gridlocked between junctions 63 and 62 in Chester-le-Street, with congestion backing up to the Washington services well into the afternoon.
Turn to Page 3
The driver escaped unharmed.
Firefighters were also kept busy by the gale-force conditions.
A crew was called to house in Low Barnet, where they cordoned off an area after roof tiles were blown off.
Firefighters from Fulwell were called to the Wheatsheaf pub, in Roker Avenue, where brackets holding the sign to the wall started to be blown loose.
The surrounding road was closed off for almost an hour as crews used a specialist ladder brought in from Gateshead to climb up and safely reattach the sign.
Wind speeds in the region reached their peak at about 7pm last night. The Highways Agency had issued an amber alert for motorways and major A-roads in the North East.
Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on the Highways Agency website – www.highways.gov.uk/traffic – or by calling the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.