Hurricane Irene

US Senator Kay Hagan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Governor Bev Perdue

Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands remain cut off from the mainland after Hurricane Irene dumped water and sand on several parts of Highway 12. There are several breaches in the highway just north of Rodanthe. Governor Bev Perdue says officials are doing all they can.

Agriculture officials say most of North Carolina’s biggest and most profitable farming operations are in the state’s coastal region that was hit hard by Hurricane Irene.  

Tobacco was one of the hardest hit crops during Hurricane Irene – a 750-million dollar industry.  Brian Long is with the state Agriculture Department.

Brian Long:  "If you think about how much tobacco was still out there, yet to be harvested, and then, Irene’s wind and rain just did a really big number on that crop."

Dare County officials are asking residents to conserve power as utilities set up emergency generators on Hatteras Island. Parts of the main highway on the Outer Banks were washed away in four spots near Rodanthe. That left residents who waited out the storm stranded on Hatteras Island. Dare County spokeswoman Cathryn Bryan says emergency crews are taking bare essentials to the hardest hit areas.

Hurricane Irene's flood waters caused some waste water treatment plants to overflow in the eastern part of the state while cutting off power to others. State officials are warning people in flooded areas to avoid contact with contaminated water as they begin the arduous task of clean up. Susan Massengale works for the North Carolina Division of Water Quality.

Hurricane Irene is gone but its effects linger on. The storm couldn't have come at a worse time for an area that relies on its tourism industry. Irene completely washed out a section of Highway 12 just north of Rodanthe. That means the only way to reach Hatteras Island as the important Labor Day Weekend approaches is by boat. Michael Gardener is manager of the Sea Side Inn in Hatteras Village.

The state Department of Transportation says storm surge from Hurricane Irene has completely washed away segments of Highway 12 on Hatteras Island. The storm cut several channels through the road just north of Rodanthe. Highway 12 connects the island to the rest of the Outer Banks and the mainland. DOT spokeswoman Greer Beaty says much of the road is still impassible.

Total rainfall amounts from Irene
National Weather Service Raleigh

Hurricane Irene unloaded more than a foot of rain on top of storm surge in eastern North Carolina. Flood waters swept into towns near the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds as ocean water spilled into narrow inlets, and then into neighborhoods. Meteorologist Brandan Dunstan says the massive storm spread hurricane-force wind gusts and rain from the coast to the Piedmont.

Maximum wind gusts during Hurricane Irene
National Weather Service Raleigh


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Federal Emergency Management Agency

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NCDOT - Road information

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."

Hurricane Irene is moving across the Outer Banks this morning. Will Michaels reports the storm was downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, but residents are still seeing high winds and surf up and down the coast.

Irene is cutting a path along the coast between the Outer Banks and the mainland. Meteorologist John Cole is taking cover at the National Weather Service in Morehead City.