Rhode Island flooding: Buildings collapse and cars submerged as storms batter half of US

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A motorist trapped by flash flooding was rescued from his car while others were left stranded for hours as torrential rain hit the US state of Rhode Island.

More than half a foot of rain caused flash flooding and traffic jams in towns throughout the state, including the state capital Providence, where a driver was lucky to be alive after he was caught in the deluge.

Rescuer Nick Wojick told 7NEWS: “He didn’t know how to swim, so I jumped in and, like, pulled him back in and yeah, it was just incredible how it happened.”

“The water was up to his chin. Two more seconds and he would have been stuck in there. It was crazy.”

It is suspected the downpour was the cause of a partial building collapse in the city’s West End. The building was undergoing renovation and reportedly unoccupied when it caved in.

Motorists were forced to abandon their cars (@7realrichstocks  SWNS)
Motorists were forced to abandon their cars (@7realrichstocks SWNS)
Drivers in Providence were left stranded for hours (@7realrichstocks  SWNS)
Drivers in Providence were left stranded for hours (@7realrichstocks SWNS)

Providence Deputy Assistant Chief Kevin Jutras said: “We’re lucky that nobody was in or under the collapsed portion of the building.”

Video posted on Twitter claimed to show students walking through water in a flooded dormitory at Brown University in Rhode Island. One student said they had to turn the power off.

The rain has also lashed Connecticut, parts of eastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and Maine.

This weekend, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Chattooga and Floyd Counties following severe flooding.

The city of Summerville advised residents who use the city’s water utility services to boil water prior to drinking, cooking or preparing baby food due to flash flooding at the Raccoon Creek Filter plant.

It wasn’t clear on Monday how long it would take to make repairs to the system.