"Zero to crazy in no time": Storm chaser describes Florence's wrath

Storm chaser on Florence: "zero to crazy"

Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 5:15 PM EDT

Florence continued to barrel across the Carolina coast Friday, threatening the area with major storm surge and high winds. Storm chaser Aaron Rigsby has covered several major hurricanes including Harvey and Matthew and was tracking Florence in North Carolina, where it made landfall Friday as a hurricane.  

"This hurricane went from zero to crazy in no time," Rigsby told "CBS This Morning" by phone. "We were sitting maybe with maybe 30 mph gusts and then all of a sudden we started getting blasted with 80 mph winds. We had winds sustained at 80, 90 mph gusting up to 100 mph."

He described seeing a "tremendous" amount of debris flying around, including large pieces of sheet metal, roofs and a lot of flooding, particularly in low-lying areas.

Florence storm surge at about 7 feet in Beaufort, North Carolina

"There's trees down all over the place and when the eye wall was actually hitting us, it looked like lightning, there was so many power flashes and so frequent."

Rigsby likened Florence to Hurricane Harvey, which brought catastrophic flooding to Houston last August.

"The thing that's so similar about this, not necessarily the intensity, is it's behaving a lot like Hurricane Harvey last year, how it's just kind of parking here, slowly moving, dumping tremendous amounts of rain and some of these areas could see 20 to even 30 inches of rain by the time it's all said and done."

Florence became a tropical storm later Friday, but major concern over storm surge remained.