LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As Florence continues to dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of water on the Carolinas, video of a dramatic rescue involving a local California crew is showing just how dangerous the rescue efforts can be.
KCAL9’s Laurie Perez examined the dramatic video involving LA County and LA City Fire crews.
County crews on Sunday posted some of the video on their Facebook page.
One glance at the LA County Fire crew’s video is jaw-dropping.
“How many people are in the car?” one rescuer calls out. An SUV is on the verge of being submerged. A placid street turned raging river in minutes.
The local crew was patrolling rain-soaked Cumberland County
They started with deliberate instructions to the 47-year-old driver.
“Just gonna crawl out like you’re 5, head first. NASCAR,.”
They remain calm — no easy feat.
“Victim is in the boat, we’re heading back.”
The crew was able to quickly turn a life-threatening event into a life-affirming one.
They rescue the man and are happy to tell him where they are from.
“LA County Fire Department, sir,” said one man, “All the way from Los Angeles.”
Scary scenes like that one are playing out all over the Southeast as residents get stranded by flash floods. Many are caught up in water they aren’t used to as they try to flee the area in cars and boats.
Swollen rivers and streets that look like rivers are creating many challenges.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen, the flooding, the trees. And I can’t imagine what it would have been like if it hit as a [category] four,” says Emily Wilson of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Parts of North Carolina have had as much as 30 inches of rain since Friday. State leaders have ordered new evacuations but some escape routes are now impassable.
Hundreds have had to be rescued by helicopter.
More than a dozen people have died in the storm (estimates range from 16-18) but officials did say among the dead, a 3-month-old boy who was killed when a pine tree fell on his mobile home.
Forecasters say if pounding rain continues, it could bring about the worst flooding in North Carolina history.
“This storm has never been more dangerous than it is right now,” said North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper.
Dangerous for his state and their neighbors to the south — in South Carolina, the governor warned people to brace for what’s coming.
“Those rivers in North Carolina that have received heavy rainfall are coming our way,” says Governor Henry McMaster.
The storms will complicate things for utility crews trying to fix downed power lines. They say, conservatively, it could take weeks to restore power.
More than 740,000 homes and business remain in the dark this evening.
Carolinians are not expecting life to return to normal soon.
“It’s awful. It’s awful, it’s going to be a long time,” says resident Michael Smith.
The president has already declared a federal disaster in the Carolinas.