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NC's Outer Banks pick up the pieces after Dorian, with relief that things weren't worse

Mark Price, Paul A. Specht and Andrew Carter, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Weather News

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--More than 24 hours after Hurricane Dorian arrived, Ocracoke -- one of North Carolina's coziest, most serene coastal destinations -- remained partially underwater and reliant on the assistance of emergency response crews.

Government officials and volunteers on Saturday used a ferryboat to transport food, drinking water and fuel to residents of Ocracoke, an island just south of Cape Hatteras along the Outer Banks. Dorian brought 90 mph winds and a storm surge of 7 feet when it landed Friday morning, warping the island's main highway and leaving many residents stranded.

Floodwaters cracked and crinkled N.C. 12, which links Ocracoke and most of the Outer Banks barrier islands. The state Department of Transportation posted photos on Facebook showing the pavement Friday night.

"There are two 500-foot sections of road (on Okracoke) in this condition," NCDOT said. "Obviously, these will take some serious repair work."

About 90 miles north in Manteo, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper stood in front of reporters Saturday afternoon to explain North Carolina's post-hurricane status. The wind whipped across Cooper's microphone as he listed the day's small victories, and the island's remaining challenges.

The most encouraging news in the aftermath of Dorian: there have been no reported deaths attributable to the storm in the places hardest hit.

 

"Even though many of them have lived there a long time, and their families have lived there, there was somewhat a state of shock from the significant storm surge that they saw coming in," Cooper said. "The man whose house I visited that had been built I think in 1870, the water had never been like that before, he was telling me."

In Ocracoke Island, Cooper said search and rescue teams are "going door to door" to make sure that residents there survived. The North Carolina National Guard has made dozens of helicopter flights to the island to deliver supplies and support, said General Jim Ernst, who traveled with Cooper on Saturday.

Ernst said 525 National Guard soldiers have been mobilized to assist in the recovery efforts.

"Volunteers are beginning to serve hot meals," Cooper said in the afternoon news conference. "On Ocracoke Island right now, they've got the water system back up running."

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