MORE than 60,000 households experienced powercuts as storms battered the North-East and North Yorkshire; bringing down trees, damaging property and causing rail disruption.

Northern Powergrid engineers continued to work throughout today (Thursday, February 13) to restore power to some 1,600 customers left without power across the region.

In total, more than 61,000 customers experienced disruption to their power supplies at some point during Wednesday’s overnight storm which brought winds of up to 70mph.

Northern Powergrid has suspended all its planned work to redirect resources onto fault response and inspections of the overhead line network, including by helicopter.

Rail engineers are also out repairing damage to the overhead power lines between Wakefield and Doncaster, which caused disruption to East Coast and Northern Rail services.

Trains between Leeds and London were reduced to an hourly service throughout today and Network Rail had teams working all night to evaluate the extent of the damage to the overhead lines.

In North Yorkshire, police received 176 weather-related calls to their control room and about 60 emergency calls.

Most concerned falling trees blocking roads, telegraph poles coming down and slates or tiles being blown off roofs.

In Whitby, fire crews spent 45 minutes rescuing a builder who became trapped on top of a four-storey building as he was trying to repair roof damage caused by the storm.

In York, more than a dozen cats at the RSPCA rescue centre off Landing Lane were moved to Askham Bryan College amid fears that nearby trees could fall on the cattery.

Half-a-dozen trees were blown over at the site, damaging part of an aviary.

Cleveland Police were called to 45 weather-related incidents between 8.30pm on Wednesday and 12.45am on Thursday and a spokesman said officers were working closely with partner agencies to respond accordingly to weather-related issues.

John Griffiths of forecasters Meteogroup said further stormy conditions are expected on Friday afternoon, with inland wind speeds exceeding 40mph and coastal gusts of over 60mph expected towards the evening.

The most severe conditions are expected overnight and the high winds and heavy rain will continue into Saturday morning.

Mr Griffiths added: “If there is anything to look forward to it is that Sunday looks like it will be mostly dry and bright, with winds easing.”