Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 17:34 UK

Roads flooded in heavy downpours

Damage caused by the floodwater

Chris Freeman, of East Sussex Fire & Rescue, said the floods were caused by an overflowing stream

Several roads in an East Sussex town were left under water after heavy rain fell in the early hours.

Emergency services said they responded to a number of calls in the Hollington area of Hastings and St Leonards.

Hollington Old Lane and Stonehouse Drive were the most severely affected, with cars stuck in up to 2ft (60cm) of water and basements flooded.

Several families had to be rescued from their homes, as some saw their gardens under up to 10ft (3m) of water.

Trains disrupted

East Sussex Fire and Rescue said there had also been a lightning strike which resulted in a power failure to one property.

Spokesman Chris Freeman said the floodwaters were as a result of a blocked culvert in the Hollington Stream, caused by debris.

No serious injuries were reported.

Most of the emergency calls were made to the fire service between 0600 and 0900 BST by residents in Hastings and the surrounding area.

Carolyn Wren

Hollington resident Carolyn Wren describes how quickly the floodwater rose

Local resident Carolyn Wren said she was woken by the storm and watched the water rise up in her back garden.

She recalled how it rose about 6ft (1.8m) to the top of her cellar door.

"When it all subsided, I opened the cellar door and the furniture was jammed up against the door... I've spent all morning dragging it out," she said.

Southern Trains said there had also been some early disruption for commuters travelling between Hastings and Rye, but normal services had since resumed.

'Escaped lightly'

Hastings council said the area had "record-breaking rainfall", with some residents seeing three months' of rain in under four hours.

Council spokesman Kevin Boorman said: "Given the huge amounts of rain that fell in parts of the town, we actually escaped very lightly.

"To get three months' worth of rain in under four hours is unprecedented."

He said emergency services, East Sussex County Council, the Environment Agency and waste contractors had been helping with the clear-up, which has also involved moving debris from roads.

Mr Boorman said the council housing service was on standby to help anyone who needed alternative accommodation on Tuesday night.

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