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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Storms leave homes without power
A car in a flooded street [Pic: Adam Heskins]
Streets have been flooded by the heavy rainfall
Thousands of people have been left without electricity after severe weather hit parts of England and Wales.

Direct lightning strikes and high winds cut power to thousands of homes in east Kent, while torrential rain caused flooding of homes and roads.

Elsewhere, hundreds of householders were mopping up after storms wreaked havoc in parts of Wales, the West Midlands and the Bristol area.

Flash floods in some areas left people trapped in homes and cars.

Nina Ridge from the BBC weather centre said conditions had been bad overnight with reports of two inches of rain falling in some areas, which she described as "pretty exceptional".

"The worst of it is over and the situation should improve. There will be showers over the next few days but nothing as severe as we have seen," she said.

Residents in parts of east Kent are mopping up after two inches of rain fell overnight, bringing flooding and power cuts to thousands of homes. Parts of Folkestone, New Romney and Dover were worst affected.

Kent Fire and Rescue said it took more than 400 emergency calls in a three-hour period on Tuesday night.

Resident Paul Turvey, who lives in East Street, Dover, said his street "became like a lake" shortly after 2000 BST on Tuesday.

Lightning striking a back garden [Pic: Darryl Ralph]

He sent pictures of a neighbour's basement kitchen in which a fridge was "floating across the room".

EDF Energy said the high winds and a number of direct lightning strikes had left around 2,000 customers still without power at lunchtime.

The company said it was "working hard to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible."

"Extraordinary night"

Emergency crews in the West Midlands were inundated with calls after the rain swept in at about 2100 BST, affecting an area from north Gloucestershire to south Shropshire.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service received more than 160 flood-related calls in two hours.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said crews had reported floodwaters rising to the height of car doors in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

A spokesman said it was a "local emergency" and priority was being given to the most vulnerable people affected.

Firefighters in Shropshire responded to 136 incidents, in one of their busiest nights for years. A spokesman called it an "extraordinary night".

Two Shropshire communities were cut off - on either side of the River Severn at Hampton Loade, to the south of Bridgnorth.

A road was completely washed away on the Highley side of the river, isolating as many as 50 people.

The last thing we need is to have to deal with unnecessary crashes
Ambulance service spokesman

In Wales, dozens of properties were affected by flash flooding although there was no serious damage.

In Newport, a woman had to be rescued from her basement flat after becoming trapped inside by water.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said the rain was so heavy in some parts that drains could not cope.

Water was several inches deep in some places and the fire service received 113 calls in all to flooding incidents in Cwmbran, Abergavenny and Undy overnight.

Elsewhere, some flights at Bristol International airport were cancelled or diverted when the airport lost power on Tuesday evening.

Hundreds of homes and businesses across the greater Bristol area also lost power and many roads, railway lines and properties were flooded.


Are you in an area affected by the flooding?

Send us your pics and moving images of the flash floods to yourpics@bbc.co.uk




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Flooding scenes from the Midlands



SEE ALSO
Flash floods in England: Your pictures
20 Jun 07 |  In Pictures

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