More than 150 residents in the coastal city of New Bern, North Carolina, were trapped on Friday after Hurricane Florence made landfall and inundated the small town with water.
The hurricane made landfall early on Friday morning, leaving hundreds of the towns residents stranded as flood waters rose quickly. As NBC News reported, many in the city of roughly 30,000 were forced into their attics as the water overtook their homes. The National Guard had a bus to take residents out of the town, but many had to wade through waist-deep water to reach it. Town officials said 200 people had already been rescued with another 150 to go, and some of those would need to be rescued by boat.
“Be patient, we’re on the way. We will get you rescued — all 150. So just bear with us because we have to be so careful that our first responders are not put in harm’s way in this type of weather,” said New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw.
“A lot of our staff have not had sleep for 36 hours now. They’re very tired but they’re very tenacious. They’re going to make it happen. It’s going to happen. We’re going to get these folks back in a safe shelter,” Outlaw added.
Residents of New Bern have reported catastrophic levels of flooding, with water rising 10 feet overnight. Local resident George Zaytoun told ABC’s Good Morning America that the destruction was so complete, it looked like a bomb had gone off in the town.
Another resident, Tanya Moore, told NBC News that every road in the town had been flooded and that there was no way out for residents.
Though Hurricane Florence weakened to a category 1 storm before making landfall on Friday, forecasters warned it would bring levels of rain not seen before in many of the areas hit. Some in the direct path of the storm were predicted to receive up to 40 inches of rain, which combined with storm surges was expected to bring catastrophic flooding.
“I see a biblical proportion flood event that’s going to occur,” Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous told ABC News. “I see the beach communities being inundated with water and destruction that will be pretty, pretty epic in nature.”
The town of New Bern was not the only area where residents had become trapped by rising flood waters. The ABC News report noted that other areas of North Carolina had seen intense flooding that left some residents trapped in homes or cars, prompting rescue efforts across the state.