Flood alerts are in place on some rivers
Drivers are being warned to travel only if necessary after persistent rain caused problems on roads.
Police and councils said steady downpours had caused treacherous conditions on many routes.
Areas across the North East were affected as the heavy rain caused surface flooding.
Replacement bus services were operating between Sunderland and Newcastle on Grand Central and Northern Rail services.
Tyne and Wear Metro operator Nexus also said flooding had caused widespread disruption throughout the network.
The Environment Agency issued several flood alerts for rivers across the region.
Sandbags have been delivered to some properties
Firefighters rescued five passengers trapped in a bus by rising water at Bishop Auckland station.
One passenger was taken to hospital suffering from shock.
The Coast Road was down to one lane westbound at the Benfield junction on Tyneside, the A195 slip road to Wear Industrial Estate was closed and there was flooding on Station Road, Benton.
In County Durham, the A690 Willington to Helmington Row, B6286 at Hunwick, C30A at Ramshaw, A689 Crook to Howden le Wear and an unclassified road at Oakenshaw were all closed.
Many other roads in the south of the county were passable only with care.
Sandbags were being delivered to properties in Lea Rigg and West Rainton.
Middlesbrough Council said Ingram Road, Berwick Hills and South Bank Road had been closed.
In east Cleveland, the road from Skelton Green to Boosbeck was under two feet of water.