Hur­ri­cane swamps Outer Banks in NC

Hun­dreds feared trapped in at­tics amid flood­wa­ters

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Jef­frey Collins and Ben Fin­ley

AT­LANTIC BEACH, N.C. — A weak­ened Hur­ri­cane Do­rian flooded homes on North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Fri­day with a fury that took even storm-hard­ened res­i­dents by sur­prise, forcing peo­ple to climb into their at­tics. Hun­dreds were feared trapped by high wa­ter, and neigh­bors used boats to res­cue one an­other.

Medics and other res­cuers rushed to Ocra­coke Is­land — ac­ces­si­ble only by boat or air — to reach those who de­fied manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­ders along the 200-mile rib­bon of low-ly­ing is­lands.

“We are flood­ing like crazy,” Ocra­coke Is­land bookshop owner Les­lie Lanier texted. “I have been here 32 years and not seen this.”

Its winds down to 90 mph, Do­rian howled over the Outer Banks as a far weaker storm than the brute that wreaked havoc on the Ba­hamas at the start of the week. Just when it looked as if its run up the South­east coast was com­ing to a rel­a­tively quiet end, the Cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane sent sea­wa­ter surg­ing over neigh­bor­hoods, flood­ing the first floors of many homes, even ones on stilts.

“There is sig­nif­i­cant con­cern about

hun­dreds of peo­ple trapped on Ocra­coke Is­land,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Over and over, long­time res­i­dents said that they had never seen flood­ing so bad, and that places in their homes that had never flooded be­fore were in­un­dated.

“We were all on so­cial me­dia laugh­ing about how we’d done well and there was re­ally no flood­ing at all, just rain, typ­i­cal rain,” Steve Har­ris, who has lived on Ocra­coke Is­land for most of the last 19 years. And then, “the wall of wa­ter just came rush­ing through the is­land.

“It just started look­ing like a bath­tub, very quickly,” said Har­ris, who was safe in his third­floor condo. “We went from al­most no wa­ter to 4 to 6 feet in a mat­ter of min­utes.”

The Coast Guard be­gan land­ing lo­cal law en­force­ment of­fi­cers on the is­land via he­li­copter and air­lift­ing out the sick, the elderly or oth­ers in dis­tress, Hyde County au­thor­i­ties said. Na­tional Guard he­li­copters also flew sup­plies and a res­cue team in. Res­i­dents were told to get to the high­est point in their homes in the mean­time.

“Sev­eral peo­ple were res­cued from their up­per floors or at­tics by boat by good Sa­mar­i­tans,” Ocra­coke Is­land restau­rant owner Ja­son Wells said in a text mes­sage.

In Bux­ton on Hat­teras Is­land, close to where Do­rian blew ashore, Ra­dio Hat­teras vol­un­teer Mary He­len Good­loe-Mur­phy said that peo­ple were call­ing in to re­port that “houses are shaking like crazy” and that “it’s never been like this be­fore.”

By evening, the gov­er­nor said that of­fi­cials were aware of no se­ri­ous in­juries on the Outer Banks from the storm.

One 79-year-old man was air­lifted from Ocra­coke Is­land be­cause of a pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tion, au­thor­i­ties said.

“The hur­ri­cane has left be­hind de­struc­tion where storm surge in­un­dated Ocra­coke Is­land,” Cooper, the gov­er­nor, said. “Cur­rently the is­land has no elec­tric­ity and many homes and build­ings are still un­der­wa­ter.”

Around mid­morn­ing, the eye of the storm came ashore at Cape Hat­teras, Do­rian’s first land­fall in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. af­ter a week and a half in which it spread fear up and down the coast and kept peo­ple guess­ing as to where it would go.

By late af­ter­noon, Do­rian had peeled off the coast­line and was fi­nally mak­ing its exit out to sea. It is ex­pected to re­main a hur­ri­cane as it sweeps up the East­ern Seaboard through Satur­day, veer­ing far enough off­shore that its hur­ri­cane-force winds are un­likely to pose any threat to land in the United States.

Power out­ages had dropped by about one-third, to around 213,000 in the Caroli­nas and Vir­ginia.

At least four deaths in the South­east were blamed on Do­rian. All were men in Florida or North Carolina who died in falls or by elec­tro­cu­tion while trimming trees, putting up storm shut­ters or oth­er­wise get­ting ready for the hur­ri­cane.

As Do­rian closed in, more than a quar­ter-mil­lion res­i­dents and vis­i­tors were or­dered to evac­u­ate the Outer Banks, which stick out from the East­ern Seaboard like the side-view mir­ror on a car. But many just tied down their boats, re­moved ob­jects from their yards that could blow away, and hun­kered down.

Do­rian slammed the Ba­hamas at the start of the week with 185 mph winds, killing at least 30 peo­ple and oblit­er­at­ing count­less homes. From there, it swept past Florida and Ge­or­gia, then sideswiped the Caroli­nas on Thurs­day, spin­ning off tor­na­does that peeled away roofs and flipped recre­ational ve­hi­cles.

Still, the dam­age was far less than feared in many parts of the Caroli­nas, in­clud­ing his­toric Charleston, South Carolina, which is prone to flood­ing even from or­di­nary storms, and Wilm­ing­ton, North Carolina, the state’s big­gest coastal city.

Joseph Pawlick went out Fri­day morn­ing to rake leaves, twigs and other debris from the side­walk out­side his Wilm­ing­ton home.

“I slept like a baby last night. This, thank­fully, was not bad,” he said.


Do­rian’s storm surge floods a shop Fri­day in Cape Hat­teras, North Carolina, where the Cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane made land­fall.


Mar­shall Brewer looks for dam­age out­side his apart­ment Fri­day in Nags Head, North Carolina, af­ter Hur­ri­cane Do­rian tore the roof off of a neigh­bor­ing build­ing spread­ing a swath of debris.

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