Rest centres were set up for stranded motorists in Warwickshire as flash floods caused a 40-mile traffic jam on the M40.
A spokesman for AA Roadwatch said: "The most badly affected areas have been in the Midlands. Extreme flooding in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire led to many roads being closed. The fact that people were leaving to go on holiday has made matters even worse."
The M1 near London and in Northamptonshire, the M50 in Gloucestershire and the A1 in Cambridgeshire, were also badly hit, with the closure of motorway lanes causing long delays.
Wales was also affected by the flooding, with the Environment Agency issuingwarnings there. The heavy rain and plunging temperatures are set to continue throughout the holiday.
Airports and motoring organisations have been bracing themselves for the rush as an estimated 1.5 million Britons escape a cold, wet and windy start to the long weekend.
A spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents said yesterday: "An unprecedented number of people are going abroad this Easter, and it's largely due to the pound being so strong.
"The Canary Islands, mainland Spain and the Balearics are the most popular destination for people going abroad."Reuse content