Forty people had to leave their homes in the Perth and Kinross village of Milnathort amid dangerous flooding.
A baby is carried to safety by a firefighter in Milnathort
Tayside Fire Service said it acted to deal with a "threat to life" and decided to rescue people after the River Queich burst its banks.
The flooding had prompted the emergency services to consider a full evacuation of the village.
Severe weather has battered many parts of Scotland with a number of areas experiencing heavy flooding.
Torrential rain and high winds have forced a number of road closures.
Early attempts to pump water away from the centre of Milnathort had to be abandoned as the flood waters rapidly rose to a depth of 2ft.
Dozens of people were evacuated after water surged into their houses but many more were forced out later as power was cut to the central part of Milnathort.
This was due to water rising around an electricity sub-station.
Most people were able to find shelter with family or friends but a small number were taken to hotels.
A resident told BBC Scotland that the pub, post offices and many houses were severely flooded.
Dawn Ramage said she had been forced upstairs in her own home as the ground floor had been flooded by water.
She described the situation as "complete chaos" and said flood water had extended across a "huge area of Milnathort".
"It's affected lots of businesses and loads and loads of houses," she said.
"The emergency services are here - we've got the fire, we've got the police. They're going round asking people if they want to be evacuated.
"From where I can see, most people are retreating upstairs and just sitting it out but I believe in some areas they've had to take people out."
A number of residents had to be rescued by firefighters
Local MSP George Reid said: "This was the second-highest water surge in Kinross-shire.
"Emergency officers from the council, fire brigade and police acted fast in establishing overnight facilities in Kinross High School for 15 families who had to be evacuated."
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued 16 severe flood warnings for waterways in the area - stretching from Callander to Dunkeld and Fort William.
Other rivers in the Perth and Kinross area also burst their banks, resulting in the flooding of surrounding areas.
Across Scotland there were numerous roads closed, including the A82 near Spean Bridge which was shut because of a landslip.
Water levels have been continuing to rise, with further rain on Thursday.
Met Office forecasts had predicted 40mm of heavy rain in the Trossachs up until midnight on Wednesday.
Sepa also warned that water levels in the Great Glen area were expected to rise "rapidly", with heavy rain due to continue.
Elsewhere, witnesses reported flooding in the Falkirk area, at the River Carron, near Denny.
Premises in the central area of Milnathort were evacuated
Stirling Council and Central Scotland Police advised the public not to make car journeys, as floodwater threatened to close several roads in the area.
In the Highlands, 400 pupils were sent home from Kingussie High School because of the risk posed by the River Gynack.
Strathclyde Police also urged motorists to exercise extreme caution and only to drive if absolutely necessary.
Firefighters in the area rescued a woman and her baby from a car which had been stuck in floodwater in Houston Road, Houston, just after noon.
Also at Houston Road, firefighters evacuated a day nursery where the electrics were affected by flooding.
A spokeswoman said there was a continuing danger of flooding in the Renfrewshire, Clydebank and East Dunbartonshire areas.