Properties evacuated as river level rises

Fears floods could be as bad as this scene at Morpeth's Telford Bridge back in September 2008.

Fears floods could be as bad as this scene at Morpeth's Telford Bridge back in September 2008.

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HOMES in Morpeth have been evacuated over concerns of flooding in the town.

More than a dozen properties in the Dawson Place area of the town have been evacuated this morning by Northumbria Police following heavy overnight rain, which has left the River Wansbeck close to bursting its banks.

Officers are currently out on the street and a number of community organisations are helping with the evacuation.

A police spokesperson said they were working with Northumberland County Council to set up temporary rest centres for the evacuated residents at the Town Hall and King Edward VI High School.

The Environment Agency has issued a Flood Warning for the town, with the heavy rain expected to last part of the morning and the river levels expected to continue rising.

A spokesperson for the agency said: “Flooding is possible for properties at High Stanners, Morpeth Town Centre, Low Stanners and Middle Greens.

“River levels will continue to rise throughout the morning following persistent rainfall.”

Flood warnings have also been put in place for the River Coquet at Brinkburn, Weldon and Warkworth while there are also concerns over the River Pont at Ponteland.

Two schools in Morpeth have so far been closed by Northumberland County Council this morning due to fallen tress and the risk of flooding.

The school effected are Morpeth Chantry Middle and Morpeth Newminster Middle schools.

Roads have also been affected by the heavy rain.

The A1 is closed northbound between Morpeth and Alnwick after flooding at Swarland, while a number of minor roads have also been affected and are passable with care.

Northumbria Police is urging people to take extreme care due to the severe weather conditions in the region.

Motorists are being advised not to travel on the roads unless necessary after a number of collisions on the roads this morning due to people driving too fast, aquaplaning and not driving according to conditions.

Anyone stuck in flooding in their car is asked to try and stay with their vehicle where possible.

Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said: “We are getting a number of calls about road closures and localised flooding – the situation is changing all the time.

“We are working with local authorities across the force and partner agencies and monitoring local rivers and areas at risk.

“The force is receiving a lot of calls – we will respond to all of them – only use the 999 service in an emergency situation and please be patient, we have a lot of officers out on the ground helping keep people safe.”