MOTORISTS driving along Watery Lane in Hullbridge were trapped in their vehicles after driving into flood water up to three feet deep.

A Rayleigh fire crew attended the scene shortly after 5.20am on Friday and by 7.40am had rescued four people from their cars.

The flood stretched for almost half a mile and was caused by water overflowing from fields alongside the road.

Meanwhile homeowners in Rayleigh awoke to find their houses flooded after heavy rain overnight.

Up to three houses on Blower Close, Rayleigh, had their ground floors flooded, causing problems with the electricity supply.

Fire crews from Rayleigh and Grays attended the scene and used an Aquavac pump to remove water from the houses.

Heavy rain is forecast for Sunday and Rochford Council is urging householders to protect their properties against flooding.

The ground is already saturated by half of January's expected rainfall which fell on Thursday night and some residents were hit by flooding on Friday. Areas threatened by flooding have received a leaflet ‘Understanding Flood Risk’ and more advice is available on the front page of Rochford District Council website.

Richard Prior is the council's contingency planning and health and safety manager.

He said: "The Council will do all it can, working with the emergency services and utility companies to protect vital infrastructure such as electricity sub stations or sewerage pumping stations.

“We would again advise all residents in the flood risk areas to sign up to the Environment Agencies ‘flood warning service’ as well as taking responsible flood protection precautions."

The Council says it will monitor the situation closely and people with an emergency can also call the Environment Agency flood helpline on 0845 988 1188. However, Mr Prior warned: “Homeowners are urged to seek advice on home protection, as responsibility for safeguarding property against flooding lies with the owner.”