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Aerial Assessment of N.C. Storm Damage

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SOUTHPORT — A powerful category three hurricane, Bonnie crashed into North Carolina atBrunswick County. Despite a strong storm surge, rumors about new inlets being formed were unfounded.Holden Beachwas still intact, as well asCaswell Beach. There was some roof damage inLong Beach.Bald Head Islandalso survived, and doznes of people sought refuge in the lighthouse known as "Old Baldy." New Hanover Countywas next in Bonnie's sights. Most eyes were on Shell Island Resort. The building had battle scars, but the damage was relatively minor.

Minor flooding is the main story inWrightsville Beach. The island was reopened to residents Thursday. Siding and shingles went flying inKure Beach, but not much else. The same holds true forCarolina Beach. Pender Countywas the hardest hit by Fran. Homes onTopsail BeachandSurf Cityreceived minor damage. There was a lot of sand on the roads, but no repeat of Fran here. Surf City says it reopened the beach Friday morning. North Topsail, which is inOnslow County, did not have much damage either. Carteret County, damage also was light at Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach. The water did more damage than the wind. The Iron Steamer Pier was destroyed, and the Indian Beach Pier lost a 100-foot section.

Every mile inland helps. Just ask the folks inCraven County. The storm blew through, but it didn't leave much of a mark. There was some minor flooding in parts ofNew Bern. There were also reports of tornado damage in the county.

Parts ofBeaufort Countyno longer border the Pamlico Sound, it is in it. Look at Belhaven. By Thursday afternoon, most of the fishing town was underwater. In Little Washington, crossing the Delaware was easier than getting around a flooded U.S. Highway 17. Dare Countyis the usual whipping place of hurricanes. Not this time. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stood strong. Bonnie will not spell the end to this beacon of the Atlantic. North of the lighthouse, at Manteo, the sound saw plenty of action. Flooding is still a concern, but the sentiments there were pretty much the same everywhere: it could have been much worse.


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