Police and council officials have closed off part of the Esplanade in Exmouth as well as a number of other adjoining streets after 30ft waves buffeted and spilled over the sea wall.
Police were called to assist Devon County Council highways officials at around 8.20am this morning.
Part of the Esplanade, Carlton Hill and the junction at Imperial Road and Langerwehe Way have all been closed off until further notice.
The manager of an Exmouth garage has described watching the sea “roll down the road” towards his workshop as high tide approached at 9am this morning cutting off
Peter James of HiQ tyre specialists on St Andrew’s Road, said he and his staff watched the water level rise from about an inch when they arrived at 8am to five inches at the tide’s peak at 9am.
“You could see the tide rolling down the road,” he said. “There was nothing we could do about it. You couldn’t see the road or pavement down Victoria Road, St Andrew’s Road and part of Imperial Road.
“It was absolutely horrific.
“The first thing I did was check when high tide was, which was around 9am when it got to around four to five inches in the work shop, it’s left a layer of silt as it’s abated.
“There was flooding during the storms of late 2012, but in the two years I’ve been here I’ve never seen anything like this.
“The water started disappearing as rapidly as it came.
“We’ve been working hard to get it dry before we can assess if any damage has been done.”
A spokesperson from Devon county council confirmed that police requested the road closures because of the risk to drivers who were trying to drive through the affected areas. He added that the road closures are expected to be short lived as the tide is receding.
An Environment Agency spokesperson confirmed that the incident was a “rare occurrence caused by the exceptional weather and the combination of strong winds and high tides”.
Several homes and shops have flooded.
The combination of very strong winds and a high tide led to flooding on the sea front.
The Met Office had warned that coastal areas were vulnerable to flooding due to high tides, coupled with the weekend's heavy rainfall and strong winds.
The road was closed at the main roundabout and the junction with Marine Way close to the station this morning.
It also flooded at the junction of St Andrews and Imperial Road.
The Esplanade is also closed and witnesses said the affected areas are all between the town centre and the beach.
Exmouth resident Ed Oldfield said there was an area of around 200 yard radius from the beach that had suffered “significant flooding.”
He said: “It is a combination of high tide and heavy winds that have blown the sea water right into the town.
"It is as bad as I have ever seen it. To have that amount of flooding when it is not even raining is something I have not seen in Exmouth before.
“It is solely tidal flooding and without a serious rain storm I am surprised to see it as bad as that. It is a residential area and although I haven’t seen it myself it must put home and business at risk of flooding.”
More to follow.