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N.S. man escapes historic rainfall, flooding in Florida

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A Cape Breton resident is sharing his story of having to evacuate following the historic rainfall and flooding in South Florida earlier this week.

"I kinda lived through the 'Floodsgiving' way back when, in Sydney. This was Floodsgiving times a thousand,” MacDonald told CTV Atlantic on Friday, referring to the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend storm in Cape Breton that saw more than 220 mm of rain fall in a matter of hours.

Cameron MacDonald of Sydney, N.S., was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on vacation with his brother Connor when the torrential rain began outside their hotel on Tuesday evening.

By Wednesday morning, MacDonald said many streets were flooded with vehicles stranded in the middle of roads that were more like rivers.

After trying unsuccessfully to book flights out of Florida, MacDonald and his brother were able to secure a rental car the following day and decided to drive north to Georgia – where family live – to escape the growing danger.

Hours later, an evacuation order was given in Fort Lauderdale, leaving the Cape Breton brothers fighting bumper-to-bumper traffic, along with the flooded streets, to get out of the city.

"It was just every single street for miles and miles. It was like the entire city was underwater,” MacDonald said. "We're driving through. The water is up to our wheel wells. We see cars literally abandoned in the middle of the street."

Thursday evening, former ATV meteorologist Steve Weagle - now in West Palm Beach, Fla. - spoke about the destructive weather in Florida and the conditions he has seen in an interview with CTV News Atlantic.

"We've not only had the rainfall and the flooding here, we had a tornado yesterday,” Weagle said.

Weagle noted weather systems stalling over a geographical area for a long period like this reminds him of the historic flooding last July in the Halifax area.

"Just dumping a couple of inches of rain,” Weagle said. “Once you have five or 10 of those, you suddenly have 10, upwards of 15 inches of rain in a very short period of time."

MacDonald said once he and his brother had driven a short distance past West Palm Beach, the worst of the weather seemed behind them.

Now safely in Georgia, he said it was a bit “surreal” to have experienced such an extreme weather event.

"It was something out of like, a movie you know. It was like, 'Oh my God, am I on a Hollywood set right now?’” MacDonald said.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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