WEATHERMEN warned last night that the region faces more disruption as heavy snow and a rapid thaw threatened a weekend of flooding misery.

The Met Office issued an amber "be prepared" warning of heavy snow across the North-East and North Yorkshire last night (Fri).

The snow is expected to melt on Saturday and rain, sometimes heavy, is expected in some areas on Sunday which The Environment Agency said could lead to flooding.

Sarah Holland, press officer for the Met Office said a less serious Yellow “be aware” warning had been issued for the North-East and North Yorkshire coast. However the situation was likely to be more serious inland and traffic disruption expected.

She said: “We expect a lot of the snow will melt through Saturday and with rain on Sunday there could be surface water and river floods.”

A spokesman for The Environment Agency said: “There is a flood risk, but it’s too early to say until we know how much snow there is and how quickly it will melt. Our best advice at this stage is to keep checking our website.”

The warning came as a regional flooding committee warned that disruption due to floods was costing the  millions in lost productivity.

The A1, the A19 and the A66, along with many other A-roads and minor routes, ground to a halt several times during the heavy downpours that hit the region for much of last year, causing chaos for motorists.

Estimates suggest that North East economy lost £20m when serious flooding caused the A1 in North Yorkshire to close for two days, with the impact of the November floods yet to be calculated.

At a meeting of the Environment Agency’s Northumbria regional flood and coastal committee, councillor Mike Chicken, of Stockton Borough Council, said: “The November floods were not about households, they were about infrastructure."

As the snow began to fall last night the AA said it had attended more than 13,000 call-outs.

At one point its patrols were responding to more than 1,000 calls for help nationwide every hour although the worst affected areas were in southern England and South Wales. Drivers were warned to be wary of potholes in the roads following the expected thaw.

Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, said: “This cold snap followed the second wettest year on record so, quite understandably, the roads are showing some ill-effects with a ‘pothole storm’ on the horizon.”