Homes and businesses have been flooded after heavy rain hit the borough this afternoon.
Two-feet of water got inside four shops on Slag Lane in Lowton and members of staff had to be evacuated.
Firefighters were called at 3pm and found the shops to be unsafe.
They evacuated the six employees from the shops, isolated the electrics and other services, and cordoned off the area.
Fire crews did not pump away the water, as more rain was expected to fall in the area.
The businesses - a newsagents, chip shop, opticians and barbers - were damaged by the flooding.
Workers were told not to return until tomorrow, when the clean-up operation can hopefully begin.
Mark Anderson, crew manager at Leigh fire station, said: “The rain came done in such a deluge over that part of Lowton that the drains couldn’t cope with that amount of water.
“It put down a large amount of water in that short space of time.”
He urged people to stay away from flood water, especially as it can create holes if covers for drains are swept off, and to isolate electrics if there is a risk of flooding.
He said: “I would tell people to steer clear of flood water.”
It was one of several flooding incidents attended by firefighters this afternoon.
St Peter’s Catholic High School in Orrell posted photographs on Twitter of flooding on the site this afternoon.
They said the water had since subsided and the clean-up operation was underway.
Firefighters were also called to Paignton Close, in Billinge, at 2.45pm, when a cellar flooded.
Two semi-detached houses on Ash Grove, in Lowton, were affected by flood water at 3.30pm.
And at 3.50pm, firefighters helped to pump water away from four properties on Foxglove Close in Lowton.
Lancashire Constabulary’s road policing unit also reported heavy traffic due to flooding along the A5209 between Parbold and Newburgh.