When the rain started to pour on Hillingdon early yesterday morning (Monday, July 28) most people thought it was a return of the thunder storm that had hit just over a week beforehand, when lightning flashed across the skies.
One road in particular seemed to be hit the hardest. London Fire Brigade crews helped a total of 20 houses along Bedford Road in Ruislip Gardens, after rain filled the street, and in places, some homes too. The crews acted quickly to lay sandbags, clear floodwater from the road and helped to pump it from the ground floor of Christine Jost's house.
“First of all, the water filled up the garden and the whole ground was covered, all of the plant pots were lost and I was watching it rush in more and more and you think ‘oh goodness it is going to come inside’ and that’s when you start to panic," Mrs Jost, 65, said. “You are looking around thinking ‘where do I start? What do I need to get upstairs?’ It all happened so quickly that there wasn’t time."
Her daughter, Stephanie, saw the fire crews working further down Bedford Road and managed to get their attention.
They dug holes in Mrs Bedford's front and back garden to work out a way of pumping the water away from the house as it wasn't draining into the soil, which was sun-drenched following the recent heatwave.
"We were flooded about 12 years ago and it was much worse then and we had to move out for about six months and that is what you start to think - that we will have to do the same again. Thank goodness it was not so bad this time, and thank goodness for the fire brigade.
“They were fantastic. They had just come off a 12 hour shift - they were meant to clock off at 7am but they stayed here until at least midday to help us all out," Mrs Jost said.
It was an exceptionally busy day for the fire crews who also rescued two women from a car stuck in flood water at South Ruislip Station, helped move cars stuck in water in Shenley Avenue and Victoria Road in Ruislip Manor next to the water-logged station.
The Met Office says the localised flooding was caused by convective rain, where the hot weather causes the moisture in the ground to evaporate and rise, forming clouds as it cools and condenses.
Met Office spokesman Daniel Williams said: “It means that some areas can get really heavy rain while down the road it can be completely dry.”
Flood-water also affected homes in Westfield Way, Pembroke Road and Clyfford Road in Ruislip, and crews who weren't pouring water out of homes were pouring it into homes after fires broke out in Harefield Road, Uxbridge and in a fourth-floor flat in West Drayton.
A neighbour of Mrs Jost, who lives just three doors down, is Thomas Whitty, 71.
He has lived with his wife in his Bedford Road home for around 38 years now, but says his wife has lived there all her life.
“This house has flooded five times now," he said. "The first three were because of the brook that runs nearby [Yeading Brook].
"In the mid-70s it was a terrible flood with water up to your waist- but they sorted the issues out with that to make sure it would never happen again.
"The last flood in about 2001 or so, was really bad, but we had hoped that measures were in place so it wouldn’t happen again, and because of that when we woke up we were quite blase about the rain, but all of a sudden we realised the water was running down the street and once it comes on to the pavement it is too late really.
"The drains were blocked and just weren’t taking any of the water away. We were all out there with buckets and neighbours came over to help, but there is not a lot you can do. The water was right up to the doorstep," he said.
The Whitty's home insurance premium is around £800 because of the flood risk. "A regular house like ours - without a flood threat - pays about £200.
"We think the flooding can be stopped if the drains are cleared regularly," Mr Whitty said.