THE OUTER BANKS, N.C. – WAVY took this amazing aerial video Saturday from a helicopter that flew over North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Floodwaters receded Saturday, leaving behind a muddy trail of destruction. The storm’s worst damage in the U.S. appeared to be on Ocracoke Island, which even in good weather is accessible only by boat or air and is popular with tourists for its undeveloped beaches. Longtime residents who hunkered down to wait out the storm described strong but manageable winds followed by a wall of water that flooded the first floors of many homes and forced some to await rescue from their attics.
“We’re used to cleaning up dead limbs and trash that’s floating around,” said Ocracoke Island resident and business owner Philip Howard. “But now it’s everything: picnic tables, doors, lumber that’s been floating around.”
Howard said by phone Saturday that flooding at his properties on the North Carolina island is 13 inches (0.3 meters) higher than the levels wrought by a storm in 1944, which he said had long been considered the worst. He raised his home higher than the 1944 flood level and still got water inside.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Howard, who owns the Village Craftsmen, a store that sells handcrafted pottery, glass and kitchen items. He said much of the merchandise on the lower shelves is ruined. Pieces of pottery were floating around inside.
Inside his house, the floorboards were buckling and curling up after being warped by the water, he said.
Gov. Roy Cooper said about 800 people had remained on the island to wait out Dorian. The storm made landfall Friday morning over the Outer Banks as a far weaker storm than the monster that devastated the Bahamas. Yet despite having been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, it still sent seawater surging into homes on Ocracoke, many for the first time in memory.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)