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Drivers rescued as floods hit Essex

People have been rescued from cars trapped in flood water and a hospital building was struck by lightning during bad weather.

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service received more than 100 calls to over 30 flooding incidents in Southend during a "very busy two-hour period" from 9.30pm last night after heavy rain hit the area.

Firefighters helped six people to safety after the cars they were in were trapped in flood water at the roundabout at the junction of Woodgrange Drive and Thorpe Hall Road shortly around 10pm.

The roundabout was badly affected by flooding and "several" cars were trapped in the water, the fire service said.

Firefighters also rescued a motorist trapped in flood water under the A12 flyover in Rivenhall End this morning.

Elsewhere, crews were called in after a building at St Michael's Hospital, in Braintree, was struck by lightning.

The incident commander reported that there was a fire in the roof and the "entire" building - which measures 16 by six metres - was "completely smoke logged", the fire service said.

A spokesman for Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust was unaware of the fire but said the hospital has a maternity unit.

The hospital has no inpatient wards, according to its website.

Since 6.30am the fire service has received dozens of calls to flooding and weather-related incidents in the Witham area.

Crews were called to the Rivenhall Hotel after the roof collapsed under rain water, and they pumped water from the drain.

Crews have also pumped water from houses in the area.

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