THE clean up operation has begun after the borough was battered by yesterday’s massive storm.
Residents and businesses are left counting the cost after some properties were flooded after two weeks’ worth of rain fell in less than two hours, with more than 200 flood-related incidents being reported to the council.
Worst affected were parts of Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, Shiremoor and Wallsend, with properties also being flooded in North Shields, with officials from North Tyneside Council handing out sandbags to those who needed them.
Some residents abandoned their properties in just the clothes they were wearing.
A rest centre was opened at The Parks Sports Centre, in Howdon Road, North Shields, by the council for residents evacuated.
More than 20 residents were rescued from ten properties in Chicken Road, Wallsend; 50 properties in Brantwood Avenue, West Monkseaton; and properties in Goathland Avenue, Longbenton.
Elsewhere, 12 residents with learning disabilities had to be evacuated from Manor Park Care Home in Whitley Bay after the premises flooded, being relocated to two other homes.
Phil Scott, head of environmental services who is leading the emergency response, said: “We know this is a distressing time for many residents.
“Our team is working at affected locations across the borough to provide reassurance and practical help.
“This type of incident is something the council is well prepared for and we’re putting into action our emergency response.
“However, this has been a particularly difficult incident, which occurred at rush hour and is affecting the whole region.”
Thousands of homes were left without power last night, in particular in Shiremoor and Whitley Bay.
Staff at Northern Powergrid worked through the night to restore power to as many properties as possible, with 7,337 homes being without power this morning across the north east.
A spokesman for the company said: “We would like to thank all customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience they are experiencing.”
They are also urging people to:-
• turn off electrical appliances at the socket;
• keep one light switched on so you know when the electricity has returned;
• use battery powered lamps or torches;
• only call 999 in the event of an emergency.
Roads were flooded in parts, leaving some motorists to abandon their vehicles while some cars were swamped by the rising flood levels.
Commuters spent hours trying to get home, with some just leaving their cars to walk instead.
The A1058 Coast Road was impassable after water filled the underpass at Chillingham Road and there were similar scenes at Walkergate Metro Station where two cars were lost.
All main roads are now re-open although some minor roads are still affected by surface water and debris.
Northumbria Police Superintendent Gillian Mitchell said: “This has been a challenging 24 hours for all of us – motorists, residents and police officers alike.
“It is hard to comprehend that some of the photographs are of our region.
“The clean up operation will no doubt take some time, with some local communities still suffering from related power and traffic problems.
“I would ask everyone to be patient.
“We are continuing to work with all of our partners, including the Highways Agency, to remove abandoned vehicles and reunite them with their owners, to keep traffic moving and to reassure residents in isolated communities.”
Members of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were also involved, helping stranded motorists around the borough.
The Beehive Road, near Earsdon, remains impassible to vehicles today due to standing water.
There are also delays on the public transport system with the Metro service being suspended between Four Lane Ends and Monkseaton stations due to flooding and land slippage near Brantwood Avenue in Monkseaton.
Numerous council buildings were also closed.
Wallsend and Forest Hall libraries, the Oxford Centre in Longbenton and the John Willie Sams Centre in Dudley were closed.
A total of 12 schools were also closed today while Tynemouth Pool and the swimming pool at the Lakeside Centre in Killingworth were also closed after rain water got into the buildings.
Residents were also urged to check on any vulnerable or elderly relatives and neighbours.
The schools closed are:-
• Appletree Gardens First School;
• Monkseaton High School;
• Moor Edge Primary School in Killingworth;
• Holystone Primary School;
• Forest Hall Primary School;
• Valley Gardens Middle School;
• Wallsend Jubilee Primary School;
• Whitley Bay High School;
• Woodlawn School;
• Langley First School;
• Howdon Children’s Centre;
• Shiremoor Primary School.
And some youngsters made the most of the weather after the skate park on The Links, Whitley Bay, became a temporary outdoor swimming pool.