STRONG winds and driving rain have battered Hartlepool and East Durham.
Trees have been uprooted and high-sided vehicles were being warned to take extra care after a morning of gusts reaching nearly 60 mph.
Officials at the Met Office were advising drivers to take extra care as a weather front passed through the area.
Conditions were expected to improve to gusts of less than 40 mph by teatime.
The conditions were expected to improve in Hartlepool over the weekend with two days of sunshine tomorrow and Sunday, before the conditions turn cooler on Bank Holiday Monday.
Already, there have been problems caused by the weather in Hartlepool. A tree was uprooted in the Burn Valley area earlier today.
On the roads, traffic websites were warning drivers to take care in heavy rain and strong winds which were likely to be around for most of the morning.