People have been trapped in their cars and homes after flash floods hit Cornwall overnight.
Devon and Cornwall police say they are dealing with a “major flooding incident” after drains were overwhelmed by downpours and villages were swamped with water running off hills.
Two coastguard helicopters were dispatched in the early hours to help with rescues.
Motorists were stuck in their cars in the seaside village of Pentewan, according to local radio reports, and vehicles were partially submerged in Lostwithiel.
The force of the floods in St Blazey pushed cars along the road, one resident said.
Commuters faced travel misery as floods up to 6ft-high led to a number of main roads being closed, while train services were halted because of landslips
The Eden Project tourist attraction was forced to close because of flooding in the St Austell area, on the south coast, and at least seven schools have been shut.
The villages of Par, St Blazey Gate, Bodmin and Luxulyan, have also been affected.
A police spokesman said “parts of mid and north Cornwall have been affected by serious flooding”.
He said: “Areas of St Austell and St Blazey are impassable and people have been trapped in their cars and homes.”
Search and rescue helicopters were used throughout the night to monitor the situation but have since stood down.
People are being advised not to travel, but there are no reports of injuries.
Gillian Avery, who runs a guest house in the area of St Austell Bay, told Sky News she had not seen flooding like it since the 1990s.
She said: “I woke up and stepped into 2ft of filthy muddy water in my bedroom, which is on the ground floor.
“We’ve got helictopters flying overhead and emergency services in the village.”
Jill Basswan, a villager in Pentewan, said: “I went into one of the houses and they had at least 2ft of water in there, it’s ruined.
“A fire engine is pumping out one of the houses in the square of the village, they’re under 2ft of water as well.
“Several cars have been written off.
“The wind was howling and the rain was lashing all night.”
Barry Green, owner of Lostwithiel Bakery, said the flood had “pretty much destroyed” his shop.
The 46-year-old was working at the Quay Street bakery early today when the water raged through the premises.
He said: “It all kicked off at about 5.15am when I heard a bubbling outside in the drains.
“I had to quickly get the stock high up off the floor and call the flood lines to let them know we had a problem.
“Within three or four minutes it was knee high.”
Alternun village postmaster Paul Whybrew told Sky News the Penpont River was up to 6ft higher than usual.
Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said up to two inches of “very intense” rain had fallen in the area in the space of six hours – including one inch in just one hour.
She said the worst of the rain was now over, but further downpours could be ahead at the weekend.
Villagers said they were worried about the cost of the damage to residents and businesses.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “This is a serious incident and our thoughts are with those people whose homes have flooded.”