RESIDENTS in Morpeth are fearing the worst after the River Wansbeck burst its banks in the town.
Home and business owners could only watch on as the river levels rose following heavy overnight rain which continued into this morning.
And just before 9.30am today (Tuesday), an official at Northumberland County Council confirmed that the river had burst its banks.
Northumbria Police, the county council and Environment Agency – who had issued a Flood Warning for the River Wansbeck just after 7am – have evacuated more than 80 homes in the town.
A temporary rest centre has been set up in the Town Hall for those residents affected, with people in the town being urged to stay safe.
Four schools in Morpeth have so far been closed by Northumberland County Council this morning due to fallen tress and the risk of flooding.
The schools affected are Morpeth Chantry Middle, Morpeth Newminster Middle, St Robert’s RC Voluntary Aided First schools and Tritlington C of E First schools.
The Dales School, in Blyth, has also been closed
Council officials have closed Morpeth Library after water levels rose.
Roads have also been affected by the heavy rain.
The A1 is closed northbound at Swarland and Tritlington due to flooding, while a number of minor roads have also been affected and are passable with care.
Mitford Road, adjacent to Morpeth Rugby Club and Dogger Bank, as well as Whorall Bank, Morpeth, and Split Road, Clifton, have also been closed due to flooding.
Northumbria Police is continuing to ask people to take extreme care due to the severe weather conditions in the region.
Advice is still not to travel on the roads unless necessary and anyone stuck in flooding in their car is asked to try and stay with their vehicle where possible.
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said: “This remains a rapidly changing situation and we continue to work 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.”
A spokesperson for the Environment 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.
Arriva North East has had to stop buses entering Morpeth after the roads were closed, with services only running as far as Pegswood.