THE clean up has begun of south east Northumberland after yesterday’s dramatic floods.
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.
Worst affected were parts of Cramlington, Blyth, Ashington, Seaton Delaval and Newbiggin.
Some residents abandoned their vehicles and took to the water in a bid to get home.
Cambois resident Julie Hobbs said: “I was travelling from Chillingham Road to Cambois and it took me from 5pm until quarter to 11.
“When I got into third gear I just started crying with relief that I didn’t have to sleep in the car.
“I really thought I would have to stop and sleep in the car, and I only had a third of a bottle of water on me.
“I was terrified, it was absolutely horrific.
“At one point I had driven three miles in four hours. It was the worst I have ever seen, we saw cast iron drainpipes coming off because of the force of the rain.
“Eventually I had to abandon my car when the water was knee height and my partner came to rescue me in his 4x4.
“He was my hero.”
Bryan Johnson, from Blyth, said: “Fortunately I managed to beat it and I got home just before the sky turned black, but my wife was travelling from Longbenton to Blyth and it took her two hours to get home as she kept having to turn back and find an alternative route.
“The back lanes were totally flooded, it was just rolling off the fields.”
Thousands of homes were left without power last night across the region, and 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.
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.”
Whytrig Middle School and Astley High School in Seaton Delaval, were both closed on Friday, June 29, as a result of the flooding.
The Northumberland County Council/Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service operations room was opened at 3pm in response to the heavy rain.
Senior officers from the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, county council’s highways service and the civil contingencies team were based in the ops room and liaised closely with departments throughout the council (including children’s services and adult services) as well as the Environment Agency and Northumbria Police.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service swift water rescue team and fire crews were deployed across the county to deal with localised flooding – 21 of the fire service’s 23 pumps were deployed.
Three people were evacuated to the local Library in Haltwhistle by Northumberland Fire and Rescue and adult services helped thereafter.