Residents and holidaymakers were hoping to learn whether they can return to their flood-ravaged homes and caravans after spending the night in refuge centres.

A large-scale rescue operation swung into action after heavy rainfall sent water several feet deep surging through communities in west Wales.

Some 150 people were rescued and evacuated to the centres as caravan parks and villages near Aberystwyth were inundated after twice as much rain fell in 24 hours than normally falls in the area in the whole of June.

Police said the overall number who left their homes, including those who did not need to go to the centres, was nearer 1,000.

On Saturday night a spokeswoman said: "Numbers in rest centres have fallen as people try to make their own arrangements but some people are spending the night there."

Senior politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, paid tribute to Royal Air Force helicopter crews, fire service teams, coastguard and RNLI lifeboat crews and the emergency services who ensured there were no serious casualties.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has spoken with Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones and Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, to be fully briefed on the flooding in the west of the country. Mr Cameron offered his full support to all those affected by the extreme weather and passed on his thanks to the dedication of the RAF, lifeboat crews, emergency and other local services who have worked tirelessly to make people safe and keep disruption to a minimum."

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, spoke of his shock at the extent of the damage and praised the bravery of emergency crews.

He said: "Having spent a number of years living and studying in Aberystwyth, I was deeply shocked to see the extent of the damage caused by the flooding in an area I know so well.

"Yet again, we have witnessed the impressive bravery of our emergency services. Working in truly harrowing conditions, they ensured up to 1,000 people were moved to safety. It is thanks to the professionalism and dedication of both our professional and volunteer emergency crews that no lives have been lost."