HOMES, garages and conservatories were left in ruins after parts of south Essex were struck by heavy showers and thunderstorms in a freak flash flood.

Hailstones the “size of golf balls” fell through parts of Basildon as rain water cascaded through the borough during Tuesday’s chaos – which lasted all of around 15 minutes.

The weather even buried some people’s gardens under small clumps of ice, while Greg Goulding’s conservatory took a “beating”, leaving it flooded and with hundreds of holes in the roof.

As of Tuesday evening, as much as 60mm of rain had fallen in areas affected by the amber thunderstorm warning.

The heavy downpour also caused chaos on the roads, with the A127 Fortune of War roundabout even left under water during rush hour.

Greg, who is 37 and lives in The Knares, said: “Our conservatory roof will need to be completely replaced, it’s not repairable at all.

"There were five minutes of torrential rain and ten minutes of golf-ball sized hailstones. I was sitting in the living room at the time and it was so loud I couldn’t help but film it.

“The next thing you know it was destroying our conservatory, the water came through and it just flooded. It was running through the holes in the roof and even went through the windows and door framing.”

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Bob Taylor - who lives in Bedford Road, Laindon - saw his garage flooded and it’s contents damaged, including the carpet which is now ruined.

The 74-year-old, said: “The road outside of our house was like a river and other houses in Bedford Road and Somerset Road were flooded as well, some of our neighbours even had to try and get pumps.

“I’ve never seen so much of it and it just all happened so quickly. The hailstones were just bouncing everywhere and we’ve had to clear all the garage out, our freezer is now knackered.

“Quite a few of my books and odds and sods were also damaged, we had about four inches of water in the garage.

“I just hope nobody was hurt.”

Warren Murphy, who lives in Lee Chapel South, has “never seen anything” like the downpour before.

The 44-year-old, from Ingaway, said: “It was coming down so fast, everyone actually came out in the street.

“People actually had buckets out trying to help and the fire brigade were even called. My son Archie, who is 12, actually went out there after and was wading through it, it went past his ankles.”

David Richardson, 41, of Morrells, added: “This was extreme weather. I’ve never seen hailstones like that in Basildon and I’ve been here for 40 odd years. We even still had ice sitting in the garden yesterday morning.”