AFTER a week of struggling with the effects of flooding, the region is now facing warnings of severe cold weather this weekend.

As the devastating effects of torrential rainfall and flooding are still being felt across the North-East and North Yorkshire, forecasters were today (Friday, November 30) warning that snow is likely to fall on high ground tonight and into tomorrow morning.

A forecaster with the weather organisation, the MeteoGroup, said a weather front from the North was expected to bring with it rain, sleet and snow today and into the weekend.

Meteorologists say below average temperatures over Friday night and the weekend also continued the risk of ice on waterlogged roads.

Temperatures tomorrow are not expected to rise above two to four degrees centigrade.

The Department of Health and the Met Office issued a cold weather alert and warned people to look after themselves and older friends and neighbours.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said in cold weather, the sick and elderly are more likely to suffer strokes, respiratory illnesses and falls and urged people to look out for their neighbours.

Meanwhile, many parts of the region are still struggling with flooding problems.

Services on the East Coast Mainline are expected to face disruption until at least Sunday night.

Trains are operating but due to flooding between Durham and Darlington they have to run at reduced speed on all lines, causing delays.

In Malton and Norton, the River Derwent is still causing problems.

But fears that a wall would give way under pressure from holding back the River Derwent from shops and homes in Norton, proved unfounded.

Water was escaping through cracks in the wall on Norton Road, but the Environment Agency said its engineers were confident it would not collapse.

River levels in the town have now started to subside.

Meanwhile in Whitby, a painstaking operation to dismantle cottages left in danger of collapse by a landslide, was delayed after further ground movement this morning (Friday, November 30).

Work was due to begin today to pull down five homes on Aelfleda Terrace in Whitby, which were left precariously balanced above the River Esk when heavy rain led to a landslide.

But further ground movement forced contractors to put back the work.

The cottages will have to be dismantled piece by piece by contractors working from a cherry picker.

Meanwhile, a fund has been set up for Aelfleda Terrace’s only permanent resident, Jude Knight, whose home of 26 years will be one of those  destroyed.

She was only allowed back into her home for half an hour to gather some belongings because of the risk of its collapse. A charity bank account is to be opened over the next few days by shop keeper Trudie Ward, from Dotty About Vintage on Church Street.

• About 40 sheep had to be rescued from several foot of flood water in a field at Bradbury, near Sedgefield, County Durham on Thursday. RSPCA inspectors had to remove fencing to allow them on to the dry ground. One animal died, but the others are now safe.