The water, sand, and wind wiped out several sections of Highway 12 on Hatteras Island. Isabel took that damage a step further by carving out a whole new inlet. The force of Hurricane Isabel split the island, cutting off all travel north of Hatteras Village. It left residents trapped because another unplanned waterway formed to the south.
Most of the damage was in the northeast corner of the state and on the central coast, including tiny Harlowe in Carteret County, where homes were destroyed. About 400,000 houses and residences in North Carolina remained without power Friday.
Officials are telling people not to come to the Outer Banks until noon Saturday. Access is restricted because of too much damage and debris that is blocking many roadways.
Pockets of damage line the coastline near Kill Devil Hills. The beach road is sitting in pieces and some of the dunes are missing. In Nags Head, two major landmarks were wiped out. The Nags Head pier is standing in the water, but Isabel pulled apart its shop on land. Isabel also destroyed Jeanette's Pier.
In Elizabeth City, on the northern end of the coast, 95 percentof the community was without power.
"I've never been in anything like this in my life, in my wholelife," said Edmond Brown, 79, of Elizabeth City. "As old as I am,I thank God I lived through it all. Everything is tore up, but I'mgrateful I'm still standing."
At least three people were killed in North Carolina, including autility worker in Newport and two motorists in Franklin and Chowancounties. One of the dead was identified as Angelique Jones, 25, ofEdenton, who was killed when a tree crushed her Jeep Cherokee onThursday.
A storm-tossed tree fell into a natural gas substation inHertford County, breaking a valve and causing a leak that continuedthrough Friday morning, the county emergency management officesaid.
Brooks Stalnaker, 72, and his wife, Carole Frances, watchedflood waters flatten their home in Harlowe on Thursday afternoon.
"It kind of looks like they misplaced the bomb for Saddam anddropped it here," Brooks Stalnaker said Friday. "We just gottotaled."
The couple stayed with neighbors on higher ground, but saw thestorm surge come toward their home.
"The water was banging against the center pane (window panes)and I told my wife, 'It can't take much more of this,' BrooksStalnaker said. "About 10 minutes later, she started crying andsaid, 'Oh my God, there it goes.' We saw it go. It looked like itjust collapsed within."
Officials in North Topsail beach said damage is minimal. Heavy winds from Hurricane Isabel ripped off siding and peeled away a few shingles, but most of the beachfront homes held up.
Most north Topsail Beach residents are busy Friday removing plywood from buildings and doors. It is the first time in years North Topsail Beach is not launching a massive cleanup after a major storm.
Areas that are farther inland, including the Triangle, saw mostly downed trees and power lines, but one county got the worst of the storm. Officials say Halifax County was hit hard. At one point, two-thirds of the county lost power.
Some isolated flash flooding was reported near Roanoke Rapids. Halifax and Edgecombe counties are the farthest inland that are part of the federal disaster area.
Localized outages were as high as 95 percentto 100 percent all along the Outer Banks and in Elizabeth City, andutility companies said they had no idea when power would berestored.
"This was a storm of historic proportions," said Dan Genest, aspokesman for Virginia-based Dominion Power, which serves countiesin northeastern North Carolina and along the Outer Banks. "Whilenot a very powerful hurricane, it cut through all of Dominion'sservice territory in North Carolina and Virginia, basically one endto another."
Renee Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the state Department of CrimeControl and Public Safety, said the state would begin a detailedassessment of the damage Tuesday. The state had no damage estimatesFriday.
"The issues right now are public health and safety," she said.
In Bertie County in northeastern North Carolina, county managerZee Lamb said only people with generators had power. "They'retelling us it will be as much as two weeks before it's back on,"he said. "We're hoping that's a worst-case scenario."
Roanoke Rapids Mayor D.N. Beale estimated it will take weeks ormonths to clean up damaged property. In Edenton, a historic townalong the Albemarle Sound, town council member Steve Biggs saidevery inch of town was affected by the storm. "There's no placewhere you can go that you don't find destruction.
"This is the worst this town has ever seen."
In Wanchese, the pastor of Wanchese Assembly of God said thetown "is going through the hardest hit that I've seen."
On nearby Roanoke Island, cleanup efforts started early. David Dalton, 42, pastor of Wanchese Assembly of God, worked infront of his brick house Friday morning while water 2-feet deepstood in his yard.
"Everybody's self-sufficient around here," he said. He said heplanned to help older parishioners clean up "if I can get my handson a saw."
Bob Cowden, 60, of Oriental, sorted through the soggy items hehad tried to protect in his basement. The 4-1/2-foot sawhorses hestacked them on turned out to be about a foot too short.
"I was telling my wife, 'We pay for this view,"' Cowden saidas he looked out over Neuse River. "Clean it up, put it in thetrash and go again."
The eye of the storm swept over the coast near Core Banks aboutnoon with 100 mph winds and a load of rain. It moved northwesttoward Halifax County before moving into Virginia.
Bob Dorrman, a boat builder who lives in Harlowe, spent Fridaymorning cutting away vinyl siding ripped from the side of hishouse. He also tinkered with two cars in his driveway that wouldn'tstart after water submerged their engines.
"And look at it today," he said on the clear, calm morning."It's like God's apologizing. Well, too late, dude."
About 60 miles to the northwest, Kinston was among the citieshit hardest by Floyd four years ago. Flooded churches andbusinesses had to rebuild. Many residents sold their flood-pronehomes in a government buyout.
The stretch of U.S. 70 running through Kinston had water so deep"we had fish swimming across," said Lenoir County Sheriff W.E.Smith. "We got lucky this time."
Princeville was another North Carolina town where many residentslost their homes to Floyd. One of them was Lossie Knight, who satwith her daughter, Angela Sherrod, Thursday night with her screendoor open to let in the remnants of Isabel's winds.
"Most of the residents are opening their doors, looking out thewindows to see what's happening," Sherrod said. "We've had a muchbetter time of it."
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