A bridge has collapsed in Shropshire after a river burst its banks.
Residents were forced to leave their homes after the flood
The River Corve rose 1.6m in three hours causing the Burway Bridge in Ludlow to give way, severing a gas main and leading to homes being evacuated.
West Mercia Police said street lights also fell into the river causing several small explosions.
Transco has made the gas situation safe and homes are being safety checked before residents can return. Some homes are still flooded.
Nine schools were forced to close and fire crews said they had attended more than 300 incidents. A woman in the Shifnal area was burgled after being flooded.
Rosetta Darwood, who lives on Beech Drive in Shifnal where many people were deluged with up to a foot of water in their homes, said the burglars had caused her more misery.
During power cuts because of the flooding, the offenders cut the lock on her back gate and stole a plasma television and DVD recorder.
More than 70 people were rescued from towns and villages across the county, a spokesman said.
West Mercia Police said residents in Ludlow were taken to a nearby leisure centre after the bridge, which is on Coronation Avenue, collapsed at about 0300 BST.
One man and his coracle in Much Wenlock. Pic by Howard Horsley
"It's a main bridge into the town centre," a police spokesman said.
Later, as water levels fell, residents began to return home.
Claire Tickton, 29, said some of the things damaged were important to her and impossible to replace.
"The water started coming under the door yesterday, and we tried to lift things up onto shelves out of its way, but the water just kept rising and rising."
The Environment Agency said a severe flood warning on the River Teme has been downgraded.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum said its sites in Coalbrookdale are closed for the day. The council offices in Ludlow are also closed and officials are asking the public to only call them in an emergency.
A number of roads are still affected by the flooding, according to Shropshire Country Council.
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