8.45am WEATHER REPORT: Traffic problems persist

THE recent heavy rainfall continues to cause problems in Hartlepool and East Durham although brighter weather is expected over the next couple of days.

Motorists travelling on the A19 faced heavy traffic this morning with both the northbound and southbound slip roads on to the A19 at Billingham Bottoms closed because of flooding.

Meanwhile, the A139 Billingham Road, in Norton, was closed this morning between the B1274 High Street Roundabout junction and the A1027 bypass road junction.

Flood water continued to cause problems in Hartlepool yesterday with crews from Stranton Fire Station called to pump water from the basement of a hotel.

Firefighters were called to The Windmill, at Dalton Piercy, just after lunchtime and did not leave until 12.30am today.

Officers pumped out water caused by flooding in the basement although the business remained open.

Meanwhile, a woman in her 20s had to be rescued after she drove onto the verge to avoid flood water on Mickle Hill Road, near Blackhall Colliery, and got stuck in mud.

Crews from Peterlee Fire Station spent 30 minutes winching the Vauxhall Astra out of the mud, while the woman remained in the car to steer.

Forecasters are predicting the weather will be brighter over the next couple of days, but warn it is expected to turn wet and windy again by Sunday.

Today was due to see sunny intervals with a few scattered light showers with forecasters predicting generally dry weather with a top temperature of 12C.

Friday is due to be dry and sunny at first with scattered heavy showers spreading into the region in mid-afternoon.

Meanwhile, Saturday is due to be a bright sunny day with highs of 14C before wet and windy conditions return on Sunday.