Freak thunder storms hit Tyne and Wear causing flood chaos as road and rail services were severely disrupted.
Hundreds of people were evacuated, homes were flooded and stuck by lightning, and tens of thousands were left without power when more than a fortnight’s rain fell in the space of less than an hour.
Lines of abandoned cars stand on the main arterial routes into Newcastle and standing water remains on some road and in underpasses.
Council workers have been working throughout the night to help residents, while Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade received over 1,500 calls from members of the public.
A Gateshead Council spokesman said torrential rains had hit “harder than ever seen before.”
A limited Metro Service is running and The Tyne Tunnel has been reopened but some roads remain closed.
In the Sunderland area, homes in the Fatfield area of Washington were evacuated and schools closed, while the Armed Forces Day, planned for Roker seafront from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 1, has been moved to the former fairground site at Ocean Park, close to the Seaburn Centre.
The torrents led to gridlock on roads including the A1056 in North Tyneside and reports of some frustrated motorists attempting to turn around and drive the wrong way down the hard shoulder.
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 in today's papers and on the internet 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."
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