Essex fire brigade receive 200 flood reports as motorists and rail passengers face morning of disruption on EU referendum day

Torrential downpours are causing disruption for motorists and rail passengers in north-east Essex and Suffolk in the early hours of EU referendum day.

Vehicles head through flood waters in Holywells Road after heavy rain.

Vehicles head through flood waters in Holywells Road after heavy rain.

Transport chiefs in Essex have warned motorists to only travel if journeys are “absolutely necessary”. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) control operators and firefighters have dealt with some 200 flood and weather related calls since midnight.

ECFRS is warning drivers to take care and not get themselves and their families trapped by driving into flood water.

The incidents have largely centred around Brentwood, Chelmsford and Ongar.

This morning, the A12 still has two lanes blocked at Margaretting (junction 14) with queues back to Hatfield Peverel (junction 20). Chelmsford city centre is also extremely congested because of traffic diverting through it and the standing water on many roads.

Flooding is also causing long delays on the A127 where the Fortune of War roundabout at Laindon is flooded London-bound, causing long queues. Traffic is passing through the flood water very slowly.

Vehicles head through flood waters in Holywells Road after heavy rain.

Vehicles head through flood waters in Holywells Road after heavy rain.

An ECFRS spokesman said: “Just two feet of water is enough to float a car and six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars; this depth can cause loss of control or possible stalling as water is sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake.

“Motorists should never attempt to drive through water deeper than the centre of their wheels. If water gets into the car’s air intake or into the electrics the car will stop leaving driver and passengers trapped.

“The water could also be hiding damaged road or missing manhole covers.”

Motorists should take particular care when crossing fords, these often become flooded and extremely dangerous with fast flowing water.