Fire crews responded to more than 300 individual calls during today's flash flooding - including one firefighter who was called out to an emergency at her own property.

Lisa Hastings had been pumping flood water from various homes across the county when a call came in for an address in Wilbury Road, Hove.

She said: “We were sent over Hove way from Roedean station after a spate of calls. We'd just finished a job when I got a panicked call from my partner telling me the flat was flooded.

“She said the girls in the basement flats were woken up with a surge of water coming in their front room so they ran to our flat on the ground floor for help. The water was at waist height so I told her to call the fire service for help - and it was our appliance that was sent.”

Stopping for a quick word while furiously working to make the gutted property safe, Ms Hastings said: “It feels weird working on your own flat. It's horrible. It's one of those calls you don't want to get.”

The drama unfolded when a drain outside the property became blocked with ice. As the seemingly never-ending torrent of rain continued to fall over the city, the drain succumbed to pressure and overflowed into the street.

The landlord of the property, who wishes to remain anonymous, said a “tidal wave” of water surged across the pavement and into his basement flat - the pressure of the water smashing its way through a living room window.

The basement filled up with six foot of water and completely destroyed the flat, which was being rented by a young woman.

All that was visible amid the filthy floodwater were pieces of clothing, bedding and a fridge freezer that had been toppled over. The tenant, along with scores of other residents who fled their homes, were given refuge at Hove Town Hall.

The landlord said he expected it would cost around £80,000 and take at least six months to fix.

He said: “I've never seen anything like it before. The capacity of the drains just isn't good enough. I feel for the tenants - they have nothing. It will take me six months to sort this all out and I've only just renewed my insurance premium for £20,000 a year.

“I reckon it will cost about £80,000 to sort it all out."