ROADS were turned into rivers as two months of rain fell on south Essex in just 90 minutes.

The clean-up operation continued yesterday, after flash flooding wreaked havoc on parts of the area leaving cars, homes and businesses ruined.

About 70mm of rain fell on Canvey and Southend, with the majority coming from a two-hour deluge.

Residents used pots and pans to scoop rising water out of their back gardens in failed attempts to stop it from entering their homes.

Drivers ignored warnings to stay away from flood water – with some getting stuck underneath bridges and having to abandon their vehicles.

Tom Defty, of Essex Weather Centre, said: “Exactly the same thing happened last August and there was actually more that fell then – 100mm.

“It’s all down to sea temperatures, which are very warm and bring moisture and thunderstorms.

This time though, the storms just didn’t move. They stayed over Southend and Canvey.”

Mr Defty said the heat would begin to build again from Wednesday, with more thunder at the weekend. He couldn’t rule out another deluge in August.

The weather also caused chaos on the roads, rail and air.

A plane destined for Southend Airport was diverted to Stansted, Canvey was cut off as the road onto the island was blocked and trains were stopped between Southend and London.

C2C trains had 15 services delayed on Sunday because of signalling problems and flooding at Pitsea. A spokesman said everything was back in order by 5pm.

There were no delays yesterday.

Greater Anglia meanwhile, cancelled trains between Shenfield and Southend for three hours.

Replacement buses ran instead.

Southend Airport said its 3.30pm due flight from Amsterdam was diverted to Stansted, before being diverted back to Southend two hours later, with all passengers on board.

On Canvey, police drafted in special vehicles to cope with the flooding. One officer was injured when he was knocked over by a car on Canvey, at a road closure.

Essex Police said the driver was later reported for careless driving.

Cllr Ray Howard, Essex County Council’s deputy cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, said: “Essex Highways had six emergency crews working overnight until 4am across south Essex.”