Crews worked for hours to winch people to safety RAF rescue helicopters winched about 100 people to safety as floods engulfed large parts of South Yorkshire.
The rescue operation, co-ordinated at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire, was the biggest undertaken in Britain since the Boscastle flood in Cornwall in 2004.
Three helicopters were in the air at all times until midnight on Monday to support local emergency services.
There were no reports of any serious injuries among those rescued, although many were suffering from shock.
The helicopters had been called in to support local police and fire services as hundreds of people were forced to flee their homes and workplaces amid increasing water levels.
Many had to be plucked from the rooftops of factories in Sheffield as the emergency services were forced to decide which of the hundreds of calls they received should take priority.
"We had to focus on the most life-threatening cases, those with medical conditions, the very young or elderly" said Michael Mulford, RAF Kinloss.
The Sea King crews from RAF Leconfield, Boulmer and Wattisham were regularly rotated to allow them time to rest from the physically demanding effort.
RAF Kinloss spokesman Michael Mulford said the crews had finally been stood down at midnight, but were on standby to return to the area if required.
He said: "Of course everyone who is trapped by flood water believes they should be a priority, but we had to focus on the most life-threatening cases, those with medical conditions, the very young or elderly.
"The weather conditions were relatively straightforward for us but it is physically gruelling for the guys constantly winching up and down and we had to rotate them at regular intervals to allow them time to rest.
"We had been flying all day but it was really after 1700 BST that the operation was at its most intensive, with three of our four helicopters in the air at any one time. We also had another three on standby."
Mr Mulford said most of those rescues took place in a corridor running north east from Sheffield, which included the heart of the city's old steel-making district and several housing estates.
He added: "We had to rely very much on the local knowledge of South Yorkshire Police to direct us to those who were in most need of rescue.
"Obviously people were extremely relieved to see our guys arrive. Many of them were in shock but there were no reports of any injuries.
"The only thing in recent years I could compare this operation to in terms of scale would be Boscastle, when we rescued 95 people, but we are ready if it becomes necessary to return."
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