Helicopters airlifted food and water to stranded residents of a North Carolina Outer Banks island Friday after it suffered “catastrophic flooding” as Hurricane Dorian swept up the coast, the governor said.
Dorian, a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, was quickly moving away from the Mid-Atlantic states Friday night and heading for Nova Scotia, the National Hurricane Centersaid.
But the storm surge left behind inundated Ocracoke Island where about 800 people stayed during the hurricane, Gov. Roy Cooper said.
"Many homes and buildings are still underwater," he said.
The governor planned Saturday to visit counties along the coast to assess the damage.
“People on the ground who felt the effects of Dorian are our focus today,” he said in a statement. “Getting food, water and medical help to the people in need is the first priority."
By late Saturday morning, about 57,000 statewide were without power, the governor's office said.
Ocracoke Island, with a population of about 940, is accessible only by boat or air.
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Search-and-rescue teams were going house to house to provide care for anyone who may have been injured or in need of assistance.
Emergency officials brought food, water, generators and fuel trucks to the island, according to the governor.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Cape Hatteras, north of Ocracoke Island, at around 9 a.m. Friday as the storm, which devastated parts of the Bahamas and killed at least 43 people earlier this week, moved away from the U.S. East Coast, forecasters and officials said.
The storm also caused damage on Cape Hatteras and other parts of the Outer Banks, leaving them without power, Cooper said.
Pending the successful test run of the ferry tomorrow morning, we have additional personnel and trucks carrying a generator for the watertower, water, and MREs staged in Swan Quarter to deliver to Ocracoke. There will be enough food and water to last 3 days for 1100 people.
Residents of Ocracoke Island who stayed behind described flooding on a scale they had never seen before.
"The wall of water just came rushing through the island from the sound side. And it just started looking like a bathtub, very quickly," Steve Harris, who has lived on the island for most of the last 19 years, told The Associated Press.
"We went from almost no water to 4 to 6 feet in a matter of minutes,” Harris said.
He lives on the third floor of a condo building but lost his car to the storm, and he told the AP that people there were getting around by boat.
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Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas after making landfall as a Category 5 storm earlier this week. At least 43 people are dead, a spokesman for the prime minister said Friday, and the number is expected to increase significantly.
The hurricane poses a threat to Nova Scotia, Canada, where heavy winds were expected late Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Paul Mason, executive director of Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, said in a video message Friday that the whole province could be affected, and he said rain and winds of around 150 km an hour, or around 93 mph, could occur.
The hurricane was expected to pass about 120 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, where a tropical storm warning was in effect for the island.
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.