Sandhills residents deal with storm's soggy aftermath

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Flooding and school and road closures continue in Fayetteville and surrounding areas.

Bishop J.V. Porter of Christ Cathedral in Fayetteville, spent the day at his church on Murchison Road.

"Water covered the entire floor," said Bishop Porter as he surveyed the damage inside.

Walking through the carpeted areas, you could hear the water squishing through the fibers with each step. Church members could be seen throughout, already starting to clean up.

At the height of the flooding, Porter describes the building as sitting in a lake.

"The water was three to five feet high," Porter said.

Bishop J.V. Porter points out the flooded church.

The church's portable storage units were swept away by rushing waters.

The church is located next to a creek that overflowed from the overnight rain. The rushing water was so powerful, it even sent two of the church's portable storage units right through a chain-link fence in the back, floating them right onto the next property.

Porter said they have some drainage issues, but that they haven't had this bad of flooding at this location in about three to five years.

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The aftermath of the heavy rain was felt through the entire county. Throughout the early morning and day, the rising waters closed dozens of roadways. The water even washed part of Sykes Pond Road away.

Cars could be seen half under water, stranded in parking lots. The danger even closed schools and sparked states of emergency.

"We're trying to ask folks if you don't have to come out in these areas that are flooded, please don't put first responders' lives and your own lives at risk," said Fayetteville Interim Police Chief Anthony Kelly.

At the height of the flood, there were more than 20 water rescues in the county.

Residents watched as the water started to recede throughout the day and reveal the damage left behind.

"We already contacted the insurance company they're getting back with us to see where we are with this process," Porter said.

WATCH: Meteorologist Steve Stewart reports from flooded areas of Cumberland County
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ABC11 Meteorologist Steve Stewart reports from flood-plagued Cumberland County.

On Thursday afternoon, Cumberland County Schools announced schools would be closed Friday for students. All athletic activities and other after-school activities for Friday have been canceled, including high school football games.

It will be an optional teacher workday.

Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson has declared a state of emergency. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, he urged residents to be careful if they have to travel.

"Know before you go," he said "Don't drive into standing water."

Authorities released a 911 call from a man who said he didn't see water and drove into it at Ames St. and Bragg Blvd. He said he couldn't swim and was trying not to panic as the water reached the top of his doors.

Cumberland County Emergency Services Director Randy Beeman said the DOT was checking bridges and several dams that are at flood level and near topping are being monitored.

Shelters have been set up at the Spring Lake Parks and Recreation building and at the Smith Center near Fayetteville State.

ABC11 Meteorologist Don "Big Weather" Schwenneker says ABC11's First Alert Doppler XP estimates there has over 10 inches of rain in some parts of northern Cumberland County and over 9 inches in Moore County alone.

Manchester at Raefordvass roads near the Sicily Drop Zone on Fort Bragg is closed due to a large sink hole at Jumping Run Creek.

W. Manchester Road and NC24/NC87 in Spring Lake is also closed due to rising floodwaters along the Lower Little River bridge.

Also in Spring Lake, police told ABC11 they had to evacuate homes along Vass Road due to high water.

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Water inundated homes along Vass Road.

The storm system brought lightning, thunder, large hail and torrential rains to most parts of the ABC11 viewing area starting Wednesday afternoon.

Fayetteville has especially been affected by heavy rain, with the Fayetteville Fire and Emergency Management Department responding to multiple reports of flooding overnight and requests for assistance throughout the city because of the strong storms that have passed through the area.

Early Thursday morning, rescuers had to help a family and a small child from a flooded home on Gurley Street, just south of downtown Fayetteville.

WATCH: Flooding causes major problems in Fayetteville area
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Flooding was a major issue in the Cumberland County area on Wednesday.

Wednesday night on Wayland Drive, near S. Reilly Road, six people were rescued by firefighters from a group home that was being threatened by rising waters.

Several other residents in that neighborhood were also helped to safety.

Several vehicles were stranded because of high water at the intersection of Santa Fe Drive and Carson Drive in Fayetteville, and two people had to be helped from their flooded vehicle by the fire department.

Another driver was rescued from a flooded vehicle in the vicinity of Cliffdale Road and Regency Drive.

Remember, never try to drive through a flooded roadway.

WATCH: Chris Hohmann explains "Turn Around, Don't Drown"
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Chief Meteorologist Chris Hohmann explains the dangers of driving during flooding conditions.

In addition to the water rescue responses, the fire department has responded to multiple fire alarm activations and witnessed lightning strikes throughout the city. Multiple roads throughout the Fayetteville continue to be flooded.

WATCH: Steve Stewart lists three factors that can determine whether a dam will be breached
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Meteorologist Steve Stewart lists three factors that can determine whether a dam will be breached.

Drivers are urged to practice extreme caution and not to travel down or through any roads or intersections that appear to be covered with water.

An ABC11 Eyewitness reported hail falling in Cary, and golf-ball-sized hail was reported in Person County. Hail was also reported near Dunn, in Harnett County.

WATCH: Storm brings power outages, hail to region"
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Storm brings hail, power outages to central NC, including hail in Dunn and Cary.

The severe storms brought reports of power outages.

In Durham, an estimated 6,000 customers were without power Wednesday afternoon. Large sections of east Durham were left in the dark.

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