Torrential downpours have caused flash flooding today in Dorset, leaving drivers stranded.

The fire brigade had to be called in to save people from their cars, which were floating down the streets.

The worst hit area was Bournemouth, whose shops including Asda and House of Fraser were flooded with six inches of water.

Over 50mm of rain fell in some areas over six hours this morning.

A ceiling in Nuffield Hospital collapsed, so patients had to be evacuated.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "Surface water does remain in areas and motorists are advised to proceed with caution and avoid making journeys if at all possible.

"A number of roads are closed and a good deal of vehicles have broken down."

Roads and a gas main have also been damaged by the water.

Local reporter @SteveBaileyEcho tweeted: “Just interviewing Jessops staff who saw bus lifted in the air by road shattered by Bournemouth flood.

Resident @Giuseppe_Arnone said: “In all the years I've been living in Bournemouth, I've never seen rain this bad…”

Picture credit: Photobucket’s speedy231278