DOZENS of people were evacuated when several inches of floodwater filled their homes in Weymouth.

A total of 18 houses in Rowan Close, Southill, were affected by the flood, which destroyed Christmas presents under people’s trees and electrical goods, a fire service spokesman said.

Fire Incident Commander Nigel Shearing, of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, said the rainstorm he had seen in the early hours of the morning was the heaviest he had seen.

Ambulance crews also assisted in the evacuation of elderly and young residents and Dorset Police Community Support Officers helped to secure people’s homes.

Shops in Radipole Lane were also flooded when a river at the back of a property broke its banks and travelled through its garden and across the road.

The flooding, which was first reported at around 7.30am this morning began to rapidly subside at around 10am.

Fire crews continued to pump floodwater from particularly waterlogged back gardens and put sandbags in place ready for any further downpours.

Portland United’s home match against Blandford this afternoon is off due to waterlogged pitch.