Newcastle storms: Court evacuated over river flooding
Newcastle Crown Court had to be evacuated after the River Tyne burst its banks, leaving stretches of the city's quayside under water.
High winds have been causing travel problems around the region and tidal surges have led to flooding.
Morning rush hour traffic was disrupted when a lorry was blown over on to a car on Newcastle's Redheugh Bridge.
A plane, diverted to Newcastle because of strong winds, was struck by lightning as it approached the airport.
Easyjet said the Bristol to Edinburgh flight was "equipped to safely withstand lightning and at no point was the safety of the flight compromised".
BBC Weather presenters said 106mph winds were recorded on the North Pennines and 75mph gusts at Boulmer, Northumberland.
The National Glass Centre in Sunderland and adjacent university buildings were evacuated amid fears the River Wear was about to burst its banks.
People have been warned to stay away from coastal promenades and quayside areas.
Earlier about 11,000 properties in Seaham, County Durham, lost power for a time, and there were many reports of trees down across the area.
During the morning, train operator East Coast suspended services north of Newcastle and said no alternative road transport was possible.
It said high winds had left fallen trees and other debris on the track.
A number of roads were also totally or partially closed, the Highways Agency said.
DFDS Seaways said one of its ferries had been unable to dock because of the wind and had to be held off the coast at North Shields for two hours.