Dorian Hits Parts Of North Carolina, Spares Others

Sep 7, 2019
Originally published on September 7, 2019 11:42 am
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


And Hurricane Dorian left serious damage as it made its way along the coast of North Carolina. Today, residents are beginning the process of cleaning up. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: The eye of the storm passed directly over North Carolina's Outer Banks, which jut out into the Atlantic Ocean. And for those in its path, the storm felt like a direct hit.

Sherman and Velvet Goodwin scrape up thick, brown mud and dead seaweed in the parking lot of their store. They live on Cedar Island. It's on the Pamlico Sound, the big body of water between the Outer Banks and the rest of North Carolina. Sherman Goodwin says the storm surge from Dorian came almost all the way up the seven steps from the parking lot to his store.

SHERMAN GOODWIN: One more step, it would've come in the store. And we're on a hill. It went in the garage and got a mess in there.

ROSE: He says the water nearly covered the gas pump in front of the store.

GOODWIN: See the buttons on that? The water was above it. She's got pictures of it.

ROSE: His wife, Velvet Goodwin, snapped a picture of the storm surge that's been shared widely on social media. It shows the top of their lone gas pump sticking up out of the dark gray water.

VELVET GOODWIN: I was holding onto the building trying to take the picture (laughter). It was rough.

GOODWIN: Everything everywhere is kind of just full of mud. It's just a mess, that's all you can say.

ROSE: Sherman Goodwin shows me the garage where they keep supplies for their store.

GOODWIN: We sell a little bit of everything. We got a motto - we ain't got it, you don't need it.

ROSE: But what Goodwin has now is a thick layer of mud all over the floor and some of the merchandise, too.

GOODWIN: The bottom layers there is probably destroyed. But see; as you can see, I thought we had a high enough, but we didn't.

ROSE: Goodwin has lived his whole life on this island and worked on the water for much of it as a fisherman and a ferry captain.

GOODWIN: Been here 61 years.

ROSE: How long has your family lived here?

GOODWIN: Well, my father and his father and - I don't know how many years - forever as far as I know. We are true islanders.

ROSE: Still, Goodwin says the surge from Dorian caught him by surprise.

GOODWIN: Never seen one come up that quick, no.

ANN WARNER: I'm not going to lie; it was a bit scary this morning.

ROSE: The storm surge surprised Ann Warner, too. She lives on the other side of the Pamlico Sound on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks - not far from where Dorian made landfall.

WARNER: Initially, we thought we were in the clear. There was no water. And then within about 10 minutes, we had a massive deluge of storm surge. And it came in, and it came in fast and furious. And before I knew it, there were whitecaps, waves crashing in the front yard, water in the house.

ROSE: Warner says it's like nothing she's seen in 30 years on the island. The restaurant she owns, Howard's Pub, seems to be OK. But the rest of Ocracoke Island is in rough shape.

WARNER: Most everyone has suffered some type of damage, whether it be cars or homes, personal possessions. We're accustomed to living out on this island, this little paradise. And we know that these storms come, and we try and prepare the best we can.

ROSE: Hurricane Dorian caused no deaths on Ocracoke Island or Cedar Island, but the storm pounded these coastal towns and reminded everyone of how unpredictable and how violent hurricanes can be. Joel Rose, NPR News, Cedar Island, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.