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More than 3 inches of rain fell in under an hour in some parts of Devon, causing river levels to rise quickly.
The Environment Agency's put a severe flood warning on the River Yealm, meaning there is "severe flooding" and a "danger to life".
One of the worst hit areas was Modbury in the South Hams.
Some properties and shops disappeared under a metre of water after culverts which run under the town started to overflow.
Fire services were called around 5am to deal with the deluge and the aftermath - many drivers returning from nightshifts got caught out as main roads flooded.
They spent 6 hours trying to clear the water and sludge that swept through the town so the A379 could be reopened again.
Within hours dozens of volunteers picked up shovels and wheel barrows to help out.
To keep up to date with the latest developments, flood warnings and any traffic and travel