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‘It’s like a bomb went off’: US braces for flash floods as Hurricane Florence hits land (VIDEO)

‘It’s like a bomb went off’: US braces for flash floods as Hurricane Florence hits land (VIDEO)
Hurricane Florence has made landfall over the eastern US, battering the coastal states of the Carolinas and Virginia overnight. Authorities and residents are braced for flash floods as winds remain high over the weekend.

Army units have been put on standby and relief crews have moved to rescue residents stranded by the rising waters. Authorities are rushing to restore electricity to 80,000 people believed to be without power.

New Bern resident George Zaytoun described how he regretted not leaving the North Carolina coastal city as floodwater rose to 15ft overnight, before receding to around six to eight feet.

“It's like a bomb has gone off here,” he told Good Morning America. “Everything around us is underwater.”

Later downgraded to a tropical storm, Florence still poses a risk to residents in the Carolinas, with the National Hurricane Center warning of “catastrophic freshwater flooding” over the weekend with some areas already seeing surges of water as high as 10ft after rivers burst their banks.

A FEMA statement on Saturday said heavy rains and 3ft storm surges were still expected with rivers expected to stay in the flood stage for some time.

The turbulent weather is expected to grind on for days with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper describing the Hurricane’s ferocity as a “1,000-year event.”

Accompanying a video of the tropical squalls that have been consistently battering Virginia and the Carolinas since Friday, veteran Weather Channel meteorologist and reporter Mike Seidel said he had never seen wind and rain to that extent in his entire career.

“Nearly 70 tropical storms and hurricanes and I've never seen this magnitude of wind and rain last this long” he tweeted.

Footage of the storm posted on social media shows just how dangerous it has become, with one showing rising flood water moving up the side of a house.

Meanwhile, powerful winds made light work of trees and infrastructure, and was even capable of disassembling gas stations in minutes. Some 800,000 people are now believed to be without power or electricity.

The storm related death toll rose to 11 people on Saturday, after a previously unknown incidents from Friday were reported. Ten victims were from North Carolina, including a mother and an infant who were killed by a tree that crashed into their home in Wilmington, where gusting winds reached the speed of 70 mph. Three people have died “due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways,” in Dupilin County, North Carolina, after their cars were washed away as water surged on Saturday. In South Carolina, a person was killed while driving a vehicle when it bumped into a fallen tree on Friday night.

People have already started their rescue efforts with the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based volunteer force of private boat owners formed after Hurricane Katrina, sent to rescue citizens and canines stranded by the flooding.

Forces from the US Army, National Guard, and Army Reserves are also in “ready mode” to provide hurricane relief support to FEMA and other state and federal agencies feeling the effects of the hurricane.

Despite the chaos, there have been moments of levity. One resident, perhaps more concerned over his water bill than the wind and rain bearing down on him, took the opportunity to avail of a discounted power wash.

Florida native Lane Pittman actually traveled to South Carolina to face down the storm in his own distinct way.

“Just being free and American, man. I don't let nothing oppress me. Especially no doggone freakin' hurricanes,” he told a curious reporter.

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