A sudden and severe downpour caused traffic tie-ups and localized flooding Friday afternoon in parts of Waterloo Region.

Rain had been falling in the area off and on through Friday thanks to a low-pressure system, but a system of embedded thunderstorms moved into the region around 2 p.m.

The storms dropped torrential rain on parts of the region, while other areas, including Breslau and Guelph, saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Fairway Road in Kitchener was one of the worst-hit areas, with flooding occurring on the road and in Fairview Park Mall’s parking lot, burying some cars up to their headlights.

Water also entered the mall -- not enough to cause significant damage, but enough to close the Sears store until it could be cleaned up.

“The rain came down unanticipated,” mall general manager Scott Baird told CTV News.

“We’re dealing with it as best as we can in terms of cleaning it up as quickly as we can and we can get back to business.”

One witness says he saw water squirt out of the floor tiles and about 20 centimetres in the air before beginning to spread through the mall.

On nearby Weber Street, Darlene Klein, her children and a friend became stuck in their car in the middle of the road, as water levels were too high for them to continue on or for them to open their doors without water rushing in.

“Pretty soon my car is going to be floating down the road,” Klein quipped.

Poor conditions were also reported in the King and Columbia area of Waterloo, while police reported several buggies flipping over in Woolwich Township.

Shortly after 3 p.m., water levels began to recede, roads were reopened and cleanup efforts began.

Although heavy rainfall is extremely localized and intermittent, the system bringing rain is expected to hang around Waterloo Region through the night and into Saturday.