In Billericay a man had to be rescued from his car by boat crews after overnight downpours and thawing ice caused four-foot deep floods.
And the storms will be followed by prolonged spell of sub-zero temperatures set to last until March, forecasters have warned.
Alarm bells have been sounded to prepare for “dangerous weather” as the settled spell this week comes to an abrupt halt, with gusts of up to 100mph as violent storms sweep in from the Atlantic through this week.
And the stormy spell will be followed by a big freeze, with the temperature set to plummet to dangerously cold levels.
Health chiefs are urging people to wrap up warm after a -5C cold snap earlier this month saw an additional 1,000 deaths.
While the weather will be unsettled, it will bring a rise in warm air this week – with some sunny spells predicted today.
Temperatures today will see a huge contrast between different areas of the country, with a 20C difference between Plymouth – with highs of 11C – and Cairngorm in Scotland at -9C.