CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hundreds of people are trapped on the Outer Banks island of Ocracoke in the wake of Hurricane Dorian's landfall Friday morning, says North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
Unconfirmed totals report as many as 800 people are on the storm-battered island -- and they are being warned to get to the highest point in their home as storm surge and flash floods threatened to inundate some structures, Cooper said.
The situation was revealed during a press conference, less than two hours after the Natural Hurricane Center reported the Category 1 storm made landfall over Cape Hatteras.
"There is significant concern about hundreds of people trapped on Ocracoke Island ... Right now, the storm is raging there," Cooper said. "I don't think rescue crews can get in at this point, but they are ready to go as soon as they possibly can."
Cooper called for a mandatory evacuation of the state's barrier islands before the storm arrived.
He said the deteriorating situation showed "we cannot let our guard down" as the storm continues to move north.
State officials blamed the issue in Ocracoke in part on a bridge being out on Highway 12, north of Ocracoke Village on Ocracoke Island.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore posted photos on Facebook showing the highway -- which connects the state's barrier islands -- was covered with water soon after the eye of Dorian made landfall. The park warned flooding was imminent.
"On the backside of the storm, winds will push water from the sound onto the islands," the park wrote on Facebook.
"The water can rush in quickly as wind patterns shift. Residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke Island should be prepared for extensive sound-side surge."
More than 230,000 people in the state were without power Friday morning, due to downed trees and power lines.
Nearly 80 roads and highways were also blocked with water, fallen trees or downed power lines, state officials said. That number was expected to rise to as many as 150 roads as Dorian continued its northward track, officials said.
State officials say about 5,000 people are staying in the 78 shelters that opened across the state at the height of the storm.
(c)2019 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)
Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.