Hurricane Irene Causing Flooding, Power Outages
Irene is blowing across the Outer Banks now as a Category 1 hurricane. Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Toolan says there's a section of Highway 12 north of Rodanthe that's washed over with sand and water. D-O-T is saying the road is intact.
Dorothy Toolan: "This storm is just moving past Hatteras and the winds are starting to shift so we've still got a ways to go and as some of the bands move through, we have some lulls. You know, we're trying to remind folks that it's going to be with us for a while and they need to stay indoors."
Toolan says luckily they haven't needed to rescue anyone yet. She says residents on Hatteras Island have been without power for several hours now.
And in fact, at least 500-thousand customers are without power across eastern North Carolina as a result of the storm. About half of those are customers of Progress Energy. Many other smaller municipal utilities are also experiencing outages. Colleen Roberts is a spokeswoman for the city of New Bern.
Colleen Roberts: "Over 90 percent of our customer base is still without power. The problem right now is the wind. Wind gusts are still so strong it's preventing a lot of our crews from getting out. We're having to stand them down. We have about 13 major feeder lines that support our electrical service here. Only one of them is currently working."
Roberts says people should report downed power lines, and stay away from them to avoid electric shock.
There are around 75-hundred people in shelters in eastern North Carolina. More than 80 shelters are open for evacuees.
So far the storm has claimed at least one life. Emergency officials in Nash County say a man was killed when a limb fell on him in his yard.