A fire service spokesman said: “West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended around 40 incidents yesterday, responding to the sudden flash flooding that hit the county. Crews were particularly busy responding to emergencies in the Littlehampton, Rustington and Angmering areas.
“Our control centre took a huge amount of 999 calls to reports of flooding in Bayford Road and South Terrace in Littlehampton and The Street in Rustington.
“Crews worked tirelessly to pump water away from properties and to isolate electrics where appropriate. Fortunately there were no injuries reported at any of the incidents.”
Angela Tester, secretary of the Littlehampton Flood Action Group, was at home in Bayford Road when the rain fell at around 2.30pm.
When the downpour subsided an hour later, a third of her road was submerged, with water coming up to people’s doorways.
She said: “Residents were distressed because people were driving down the road, and the waves were coming into their houses.”
She donned high boots and waded through the water to see the extent of the damage, and spotted people in New Road, which flooded in 2012, mopping their kitchens.
With her fellow group members she helped co-ordinate the response before the fire service arrived half an hour later to pump out the water. Arun District Council praised them for their help, describing it as a ‘sterling effort’.
Angela called Southern Water on behalf of one resident who was trying to save their kitchen equipment, but claimed the water company would not not speak to anyone but the homeowner, which she branded as ‘very frustrating’. However, she said they were ‘really on the case’ in the evening, with several teams in South Terrace after 7pm to check their pumps were working.
She said: “We knew it was going to happen sometime. We know the places that are going to flood.”
She claimed houses were also being pumped out in South Terrace, with the twittens behind full of water, as well as St Catherine’s Road, New Road, and Clifton Road. Businesses in Anchor Springs were badly hit, and traders in The Arcade flooded through their ceilings.
The White Hart pub in Surrey Street, Littlehampton, closed due to the floods, and homeowners in Fitzalan Road were having to pump out their properties, Angela said.
Sewage pumps in Rope Walk also stopped working, so Southern Water had to fix them.
Angela said the Flood Action Group has a meeting with Southern Water already fixed for July 6, where they will be discussing how to prevent this flooding from happening again.
Have you been affected by the flooding and would like to speak to us? Call James Butler on 01903 282 377 or email [email protected]
A Southern Water spokesman said: “We dealt with a number of flooding issues in Littlehampton yesterday following the heavy rainfall.
“We immediately dispatched our specialist crews to site to help deal with internal flooding to 13 homes and gardens.
“We began carrying out full clean-ups to properties and gardens as soon as possible last night and are continuing with our work today, as well as visiting and supporting all affected customers. We have also brought in tankers to try and help manage water flows in the area.
“Anyone is able to report a problem to us on behalf of themselves or friends and neighbours, and we’re sorry if this was not the experience of one of our callers yesterday. We will always ask for a postcode, if known, as it allows us pinpoint the exact location of an issue as well as helping us understand if it’s an isolated incident or an indication of a wider problem.”