Chester-le-Street in Co Dur-ham was cut off as cars became stranded in water three feet deep after more than 48 hours of continuous rain.
Cars travelling to the town from the west were turned away by police. Other motorists who tried to venture in were left stranded after their engines were overcome with water.
Martin Wallwork, spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: "It appears the flooding has been caused by the blockage of South Burns stream which runs into the town and on to the River Wear. The water had no- where to go so it just flooded into the market place."
A shopkeeper, Lawrence Steel, said: "Some of the houses near here have been flooded along with a couple of offices. The mechanics next door can't work either because the garage is completely full of water. "Reuse content