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Flash floods are causing chaos across London as more than double July's average monthly rainfall fell in the space of a few hours.
Cars have been left stranded in several feet of water, Tube stations are shut and shoppers have been forced to flee.
At Charlie Brown's roundabout in South Woodford fire crews and the police are working to free stranded families whose cars are stuck in water which is reportedly up to 4ft deep.
The stretch of the A406 is blocked on both sides by deep pools.
Roads are under water in various parts of the capital – from Sutton and Camberwell to Walthamstow and Barking – as a line of severe and slow-moving thunderstorms hit after an amber weather warning was issued.
Workers at the Stratford Centre scrambled to sweep away water after downpours hit, while flooded underpasses in places such as Walthamstow, Kingston and Worcester Park were impassable.
In parts of the capital up to 10cm of rain was expected to fall in the space of a few hours, more than double the amount that would usually fall across the whole of July.
By 4.30pm London Fire Brigade had already taken 300 calls about severe flooding in the capital, with more downpours expected until 7pm.
A London bus negotiates deep water after flash flooding in Walthamstow
Flooding in Redbridge, east London
The Met Office warned of a "line of thunderstorms stretching northeast from Surrey towards western Essex".
Forecasters said: "This line will remain fairly slow-moving through the coming hours. Each shower could bring 20-40mm of rainfall within an hour, with isolated locations that experience several showers perhaps seeing 75-100mm of rainfall within the space of a few hours.
"Although some isolated lightning is likely rainfall and the associated surface water flooding are expected to bring the greatest impacts."
Residents in the city say the rain is the most severe they have ever seen in the area.
Jamie Curtis said he had to drive through water that was "12 to 18 inches deep" while heading through Clapham Common on his way home to Kingston, Hampshire.
"I've not seen that level of flooding in London before," the IT consultant said.
Mr Curtis said roads into London were blocked due to flooding, and rain beforehand had been "extremely heavy for about 20 to 25 minutes".
A flooded underpass at Worcester Park, Surrey
An amber weather warning issued by the Met Office
(Image: Met Office)
It's the second time in a month that the capital's streets have been underwater, with the fire service receiving more than 1,000 calls about flooding on July 13.
Today's amber warning is at the centre of a far bigger yellow weather alert covering much of southern England.
Torrential downpours have defined the weekend following several days of erratic weather, with scorching highs nudging 30C followed swiftly by deluges.
The Met police tweeted an image of submerged cars and reminded people not to drive through floodwater, warning rescue operations use up valuable resources.
The force has been assisting firefighters across the capital and warned of severe disruption on the A406 North Circular.
Shoppers at TFC in Camberwell were reportedly stranded, while Walthamstow was under water.
The A12's Green Man Tunnel in Wanstead is closed while the nearby Redbridge roundabout is flooded too.
Water poured into Kennington Underground Station in the south of the capital, while Hackney Wick station suffered a similar fate.
Covent Garden, Edgware Road, Gants Hill, North Greenwich, Pudding Mill Lane, Stepney Green, Stockwell and Surrey Quays are also closed.
Further afield in Braintree, Essex a tornado rose high above the ground.
Yesterday, Essex Weather Centre tweeted: "Severe weather possible during Sunday.
"Flash flooding (main risk), frequent lightning and short-lived tornadoes."
A tornado near Braintree, Essex
Send your photos of flooding or severe weather to [email protected]