Irene's eye spared Harkers Island, soaked Cedar Island

Posted August 29, 2011 5:42 p.m. EDT
Updated August 30, 2011 12:00 a.m. EDT

— When the eye of the Hurricane Irene made landfall between Harkers Island and Cape Lookout in Carteret County on Saturday, residents of Harkers Island said everything was suddenly calm.

Then, the backside of the storm passed through, bringing with it strong winds and sending water crashing ashore.

“The backside of that storm was far worse than the front side,” Harkers Island EMS worker Fred Schramm said on Monday. 

Schramm said crews were prepared for many emergency calls, but only received a few from people experiencing anxiety about the storm.

Ann and Grant Lynch spent Monday morning cleaning up pine needles in their front yard on the island.

“If you dodge a bullet, you feel fortunate,” Grant Lynch said.

The couple has been through many hurricanes and said Irene was one of the mildest in terms of damage.

“We’ve had it much worse,” Ann Lynch said.

People on the island saw minor damage like lost shingles or downed trees.

“We feel very blessed, and we feel very sorry for the people who had a lot of damage,” Ann Lynch said.

Cedar Island, which is north of Harkers Island, saw more significant damage, including extensive flooding. Along U.S. Highway 70, houses had water at least 3 feet high during the storm. 

In the nearby Williston, Stacy and Davis communities, people spent Monday airing their belongings out in the yard.

"Hopefully in a few years, I can get it (the house) raised up and won't have to go through it again," homeowner Robert Willis said. 

Willis has lived in the area for eight years. He said the water that rushed into his home on Saturday was waist-deep.

"The guy that was moving out was getting his stuff out from a hurricane," he said. "So I bought it (hoping that), by the next one, I'd be prepared, but it came a few years early. You can't gamble too many times or you end up losing."