People were forced to leave their homes after Essex was hit by flash floods.
About 20 homes were flooded in the Harlow area during heavy rain Tuesday night.
Conservative county councilor Nicky Purse said the water “rolled out of the land – it looked like a river”.
The Essex County Fire and Rescue Service says it has received numerous flood-related calls, particularly in Harlow.
Ms Purse, who is responsible for the environment at Harlow Council, said the calls were “thick and fast” to the government’s overtime team.
She said that while the council had been doing ditch cleaning work recently, “the ground was soggy” and “the water had nowhere to go”.
She said: “It just took the lowest road, unfortunately towards the houses in Potter Street and Old Harlow.
“There are times when it’s up to my knees and it’s like a river… it’s literally rolling off the land.”
She added that the last time the area was hit hard was in 1987.
Council is waiting for a final count of homes affected, but Ms Purse said she has spoken to at least 15 flooded residents and thinks the total will be around 20-30 homes.
“My concern is helping these residents, contact us and we will do whatever we can to help you,” she said.
Resident Martin Davies, who has lived in Elmbridge for about 35 years, said he last saw a similar flood, where “water rose to the same height”, about 34 years ago.
He said that on Tuesday, some people were trapped.
“They can’t really return home because [the water] too deep and flowing pretty fast,” he said.
“It looked like it rained most of the evening and then we had hail pouring down.
“I looked out the window and saw brown water running down and that meant it was coming out of the field – so I thought I should move my car.
“And it just kept coming.”
Geoff Brant has lived in his house for 38 years and said torrential rains and thunderstorms “come from nowhere”.
“Suddenly the water level started to rise along Churchgate St.
“After that, it increased dramatically in a very short period of time [of time].
“There was a bit of anxiety and panic, but when the rain stopped, things started to settle down very slowly.
“[It was] a scary moment but the fingers pass, the sun is shining and now all is well.”
Neighbor Andy Thornton, who has lived in his home for 17 years, said at around 19:00 BST he thought the rain looked “spectacular”.
“But then for the first time rain started falling on our sidewalks and I thought ‘this is serious,'” he said.
“I saw waves coming down the road, like a small wave in a river, and within about 10 minutes it was about 2 feet in the middle of the road.”
He said that eventually they had to stop the cars trying to pass.
“Then it became a disaster area, we had to run around our house – we were only about a centimeter away from it to flood the house,” he said.
“This is the beginning of a terrible future.
“Every cloud coming from the Atlantic now has more rain due to global warming…it’s going to happen again and again.”
Harlow Conservative councilor Joel Charles said he was “shocked” by the scale of the flooding on Churchgate Street in Old Harlow.
Mr Charles, who is responsible for community resilience, praised emergency services and council groups for their quick response and appealed to anyone in the area affected and in need of assistance. please contact him.
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Flooding also partially closed the M11 in both directions between junction seven for Chelmsford and junction 7A for Harlow, but all lanes were reopened around 20:00 Tuesday.
The Met Office had previously issued a yellow weather warning for up to 20 mm (0.8 inches) of rain within an hour for some areas on Tuesday.
It issued more yellow alert for todayShowers and thunderstorms are predicted between 13:00 BST and 20:00 across the region.
As heavy rain develops, 15 mm (0.6) of rain could fall within an hour and possibly 25-30 mm (0.9 – 1.1 inches) in 2-3 hours as showers move in slow, along with lightning and hail.