Local/State

NC officials begin assessing damage from Irene

Sunday, August 28, 2011
NC 12 - the highway that links North Carolinas Outer Banks - was cut by Hurricane Irene

Gov. Beverly Perdue and state officials toured the damage from Hurricane Irene Sunday as residents began the recovery.

Perdue first stopped in Trenton in Jones County, then headed to New Bern in Craven County, which is her home. She then visited the Beaufort and Morehead City areas of Carteret County before landing in Dare County.

Hurricane Irene churned ashore as a Category 1 storm in North Carolina Saturday morning with top sustained winds of 85 mph. Landfall was near Cape Lookout around 7:30 a.m. There were immediate reports of scattered flooding, power outages, and damage.

In Dare County, officials said 2,500 people on Hatteras Island on North Carolina's Outer Banks were cut off by the storm. County manager Bobby Outten said no one is being allowed on the Bonner Bridge and three sections of state Highway 12 on Hatteras Island were impassable because of damage from the sand and water.

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Hyde County officials said a half-mile of NC 12 on Ocracoke Island was also washed out.

Outten said ferries would bring supplies and people to Hatteras Island until the road damage can be repaired. He didn't know how long that might take.

Significant road closures have been reported throughout the region including:

  • US-301 is closed throughout Halifax County due to downed trees and power lines
  • NC-561 is closed between I-95 and US-301 in Halifax County
  • NC-903 is closed between I-95 and US-301 in Halifax County
  • US-17 Southbound is closed between St. Francis Road. in Bertie County
  • US-13 is closed near Peanut Rd. near Snow Hill in Greene County
  • US-264 is closed in Beaufort County approaching Pitt County
  • NC-11 is closed near Canady Rd. near Kinston in Lenoir County

Some of the worst flooding happened in New Bern, where the storm pushed water from the Pamlico Sound up the Neuse River and into the city of about 30,000 people. Several feet of water surged into the city Saturday morning as the eye of Irene passed about 40 miles to the east.

Also in Craven County, officials estimated that swells from the Neuse River destroyed 20 to 25 houses further to the east in Harlowe. Volunteer Fire Chief Jeremy Brown said 10-foot swells from the river broke on top of houses. Brown said the number may increase since reports of destruction were stilling coming in Sunday. Some of the destroyed homes had been rebuilt after Isabel in 2003.

The fire department rescued people from three or four houses Saturday, getting help from the National Guard and swift water rescue teams from Hendersonville.

Sound flooding was also reported in Beaufort, Carteret, and Hyde counties.

Damage reported far inland

Closer to Raleigh, Wayne County officials reported that part of the roof collapsed at the Berkeley Mall in Goldsboro. A Belk store was evacuated, but there were no reports of injuries.

On the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, part of the roof of an administrative building was blown off and there were some windows broken. The school said it would be closed Monday for repairs.

Hundreds of viewers across the Triangle reported trees down around their homes and power outages.

Click here to view and send photos of storm damage

Emergency management officials advised everyone to stay indoors and not attempt to drive until the damage assessment can be completed.

In the meantime, power companies are working to restore the widespread outages that occurred during the storm.

Storm related deaths

One man was killed in Nash County after a tree limb fell on him outside his home Saturday morning as some outer bands from the storm brought near hurricane-force gusts more than 100 miles island. Nash County Emergency Management Director Brian Brantley said the man was walking outside his home in a rural area of the county when the limb hit him.

Elsewhere, an Onslow County man died of a heart attack while putting up plywood and a driver in Pitt County perished when his car struck a tree on the side of a road Saturday morning.

A 15-year-old girl, who was returning to northern Virginia from Myrtle Beach, S.C., died in Goldsboro after the SUV she was riding in collided with another vehicle at an intersection where traffic lights failed to work because Hurricane Irene had knocked out the power.

Police Capt. Chad Calloway said several other people were taken to the hospital after the crash around 4 p.m. Saturday.

Calloway says the wreck likely would not have happened if the traffic signals were working.

In Sampson County, a tree fell on a car with a husband, wife, and child inside. Officials said the wife was killed.

North of the state line, Hurricane Irene led to the deaths of at least 12 more people up the East Coast.

Hurricane aftermath

On the North Carolina coast, the far end of the fishing pier in Atlantic Beach succumbed to the heavy surf. The structure, which extends about 100 feet, still stands, but the end disappeared into the ocean.

Emerald Isle town manager Frank Rush said the end of Bogue Inlet Pier also collapsed.

At the resort town of Nags Head on the Outer Banks, winds whipped heavy rain Saturday morning, damaging signs and fences. Tall waves covered the beach and the big, foaming rollers pushed as high as the backs of some houses and hotels.

Carteret County spokeswoman Jo Ann Smith said the Bogue Sound sent a few feet of water onto roads and into homes at Salter Path.

In Morehead City, the water came in as much as 200 yards into one neighborhood and even houses on pilings appeared flooded by a surge at least 6 feet above normal.

The governor said downed power lines and trees and flooded roads continued to make many areas dangerous and urged people affected by the storm to continue to stay inside. Perdue also said three emergency management centers in Hyde, Dare and Pamlico counties are distributing food, water, and tarps.

The governor cautioned that river levels may continue to rise in coming days. She said water rescue and urban search-and-rescue teams are ready to deploy.

Perdue said the Governor's hurricane hotline is open for people who need help. Residents can call (888) 835-9966. The deaf and hard of hearing can call (877) 877-1765. More is also available at www.readync.org

Evacuations and Re-entry

Several counties along the North Carolina coast issued mandatory evacuations ahead of Hurricane Irene's arrival.

Click here for shelter information

Plans are underway to help people who have been displaced from their homes because of the storm. Shelters will be made available.

Help is available in Dare County through Dare County Social Services and the American Red Cross. If you need this assistance call (252) 475-5655.

After an initial damage assessment is completed, it will be used to determine the first phase of re-entry. Until then, there is no entry into Dare County, or the Currituck Outer Banks, and no entry to Hatteras Island for those in the northern portions of Dare County.

Before attempting re-entry to Dare County, or the Currituck Outer Banks, visit www.darenc.com or call (877) 629-4386 for updated information regarding when re-entry will be permitted. Once re-entry is allowed, you should also call your accommodations provider to confirm that lodging will be available.

The mayor of Pine Knoll Shores told ABC11 Sunday the NC 58 Emerald Isle bridge reopened Sunday at 1 p.m. Atlantic Beach bridge is open to people with reentry passes but a curfew and state of emergency remains in effect. No one will be allowed to drive from Emerald Isle to Atlantic Beach since both are closed.

Officials said the Town of Duck and NC 12 are completely impassable at this time. They said no one should attempt to come to Duck or Corolla.

Currituck County Government opened an emergency shelter Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for county residents displaced by Hurricane Irene. It's in the gymnasium at Currituck County High School, located at 4203 Caratoke Highway. Residents should bring necessary personal items to the shelter, including clothing, bedding and medicines. Pets will NOT be allowed in the shelter.

Residents can call (252) 232-6041 with questions regarding the shelter. For general storm-related information, citizens can call the Currituck Emergency Hotline at (252) 232-6010, visit www.CurrituckGovernment.com, www.VisitCurrituck.com or follow CurrituckGov on Twitter.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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