Overnight storms led to flooding in Kent, road closures, and major railway disruption for commuters during the morning rush hour.
Kent fire crews received more than 70 calls after the downpours
Kent fire crews received more than 70 calls after the floods. In Canterbury, the council delivered sandbags to 30 homes and pumped water from a car park.
Southeastern railway services were hit by cancellations after lightning hit a signal box in the Folkestone area.
And roads were closed in Dover, Hawkinge, and Alkham, Kent Police said.
Margate fire station manager Mick Smith said the flooding was severe, particularly in Hythe, Folkestone and Whitstable.
"It was quite extensive probably because of the sheer volume of rainfall in a very short space of time," he said.
"Surface water just couldn't escape down the drains quick enough."
He said one property, a large barn conversion in Whitfield, had about 18in (46cm) of water in the house.
On the railways, engineers were called in to repair the damage early on Tuesday, and buses were brought in between Ramsgate and Dover. Services from east Kent to Ashford and Medway were also delayed.
Martin Smith, Southeastern rail firm spokesman, said engineers worked "as fast as possible to restore services".
On the roads, police said floods had closed the A256 in Dover, and Haven Drive in Hawkinge. Alkham Valley Road in Alkham was said to be "just passable".
The fire service said pumps were sent out across the area to help residents after several hours of rain, but the downpours appeared to be over by 0800 BST.