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Helpless Stockton residents watched as water levels rose
ABOUT 100 homes were evacuated across Teesside yesterday as water levels continued to rise through the day.
Worst hit was Stockton, where police declared a major incident due to extreme flooding in the Hartburn area of the town.
Two people were being put up at the Splash leisure centre, in the town centre, last night, but it is thought hundreds of others had gone to stay with friends and family.
The leisure centre was due to remain open all night in case it was needed as the rain continued to pour.
The number of people who had left their homes across Cleveland was uncertain because police said many people had evacuated themselves.
The most severe trouble was in the Burnside Grove area of Hartburn, near Lustrum Beck, where at least 29 properties were evacuated with help from the emergency services. Other families had already left their homes.
Cleveland Fire Brigade used water rafts and boats to get residents to safety in the Burnside Grove area, where £85,000-worth of flood defence improvements were recently completed.
Some of the worst-affected homes already had at least 4ft of water by 1pm and levels were still rising. One woman carrying food supplies told The Northern Echo there was 6ft of water in her home.
Lisa Askew, a well-known cancer prevention campaigner, and husband Andrew anxiously watched the rising levels creep near their home in Burnside Grove.
Mrs Askew, who said the water had already breached her garage, said: “I thought we’d be okay, but the water is just getting higher and higher.
Normally, you can’t even see the beck, but it just keeps coming. It’s unbelievable.”
Barbara Smith said both her neighbours’ properties had been breached and she was moving furniture and preparing to help out. She said floods were worse 20 years ago when two becks breached their banks simultaneously.
Bob Robson, Stockton Fire Brigade station manager, said houses were being evacuated in phases.
He added: “Our speciallyequipped crews are assessing the water situation, but also the condition of residents themselves because it is all about keeping people safe.”
Other badly affected areas of Stockton included Primrose Hill, Oxbridge, Grangetown and Newtown, and earlier in the day emergency services issuded flood alerts for Skelton , east Cleveland and Eston, in Middlesbrough.
Bishop and Darlington Roads, in Stockton, were closed due to flooding into the early evening and earlier Yarm High Street was closed for about an hour-and-a-half due to a burst drain. Leven Bridge, near Yarm, was also closed for a short time and will be inspected this morning.
Schools across Stockton were closed early, but all are expected to open today.