RESIDENTS in Kempsey had to be dramatically evacuated after their homes flooded in the early hours of this morning.

Emergency services were called to the village at about 5am after a suspected pump failure caused a deluge of flooding.

About 40 properties in the Church Street area were affected, according to West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Around 30 residents in total were taken to the community centre, which was opened up specially for hot drinks, shelter and snacks.

By lunchtime today everyone affected by it had either returned home to start the clear-up operation, or had gone to stay with friends and relatives because of the extent of the damage.

Matt Liddle, who lives in the village, rang your Worcester News to say it was as bad a flood as he can remember.

"The rain yesterday was so bad, it kept on coming and you could sense there was going to be problems," he said.

"I live a short walk from Church Street and it was like a river. I feel so sorry for the people affected."

Colin Stronach, of Church Street, said: "About four o'clock I was woken up by my neighbours who wanted assistance putting their flood defence grates into place - in 15 minutes we had three inches of water in the house."

At its height the water reached nearly a foot inside his house, leaving him with ruined electrical appliances, kitchen equipment and soft furnishings.

"We've lived here 18 years and this is the third flood we've had, but we had hoped that after the defences were put in place, this would be the last one," he said.

Dan Cornes, of Church Street, said: "As of 10pm last night the situation looked absolutely fine.

“I went to bed thinking that nothing was going to happen, and I was woken up at about 4am by neighbours banging on my door. The water came up 12 or 13 inches in about 20 minutes."

At the lower end of Church Street, Steve and Julie Brook were lucky, with the waters reaching just below the level of their door, and only losing some electric garden tools in a shed.

Mr Brook said: "It reached the same level as the 2007 flood. I made a mark on my shed to mark that level, and last night the waters reached that mark."

Houses beyond Church Street were affected. The A38 was flocked by floodwater for a while and the Crown Inn was flooded, both the main building and the separate pool room.

Musician Dave Farrell said he lost amplification and PA equipment worth “hundreds of pounds” which had been kept in the pool room.

In Main Street, the cellar of the home shared by Luke Harris and Kirsty White was flooded. Mr Harris said: "We came back from London last night and I was worried about flooding, so when we arrived I stayed up most of the night and went to bed around five.

“Kirsty went downstairs and started screaming that the cellar had flooded. It’s the sentimental stuff you lose that’s the worst - things that can't be replaced."

The Environment Agency said one of two large pumps cut out in the early hours. They are now fully operational and water levels through Kempsey are continuing to fall.

Sixty caravans have also been flooded in Kempsey, with many residents laying the blame at the flood protection barriers.

Meanwhile, parts of the M50 were also shut this morning but have now re-opened.

Worcestershire County Cricket Club's New Road ground is also under a deluge of water.

As the day went on, the Environment Agency has issued around 20 flood warnings for Worcestershire, with concern of more rain to come tomorrow.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has also asked drivers to stop taking "risks" by attempting to motor across flooded roads and fords.

Emergency services staff said they were called out to "several incidents" last night in which motorists has tried to navigate a flooded route and got stuck.

They also said they had to deal with "a remarkable number of 4X4s" which had become stuck.

Many of the concerns for tomorrow surround Worcester, where river levels were still 24 hours away from peaking at 2pm today.

Worcester City Council is currently door knocking 55 homes in the Diglis deemed to be at serious risk of flooding, and is making preparations for emergency shelter accommodation to be opened up for a worst-case scenario.

Other areas hit by the floods include Upton and Pershore.

For more, see your Worcester News tomorrow.