Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Carolinas Reel From Hurricane Dorian's Impact


In the Carolinas, the water has receded, and the skies have cleared after Hurricane Dorian brought flooding waters and powerful winds there. And as NPR's Bobby Allyn reports today, hundreds of people who were trapped on one storm-battered island are assessing Dorian's damage.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Theresa Ray lives in a small house on 4-foot stilts in the low-lying marshlands of Ocracoke Island. On Friday, as she was making ramen noodles in her kitchen, she heard what sounded like a fleet of trucks heading straight toward her.

THERESA RAY: You know, I'm looking out my window, and you just see this three-foot wall of water just - I mean, it's only three feet, but it's still, like, just rushing in. And then more and more, it keeps coming.

MARTIN: It was Dorian making landfall in the Outer Banks, bringing galloping winds that pushed water surging through Ocracoke Island.

RAY: I got my dog and some jugs of water and some Pop-Tarts, and we headed upstairs because you never know.

ALLYN: Ray and hundreds of other islanders were trapped as several feet of water kept rising.

RAY: It was like being in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" mixed with "The Wizard Of Oz." I mean, it was just the noise, the intensity was just outrageous.

ALLYN: Ray, who is a commercial fisherman, called her friend Jesse Spencer and begged him to come to her place on his boat to rescue her.

RAY: And then, sure enough, here comes Jesse, and I - he's, like, grab your dog. I was, like, all right. So we hopped in the boat. And I was just - when I saw him, when I heard that boat motor, it was just - you know, I was very, very grateful.

ALLYN: The water was more than six feet above ground in some parts of Ocracoke. Some residents who were sick or elderly were saved by helicopter. Ray is back home now and has a busted-out wall and other water damage. She's said she's going to ask her landlord to jack up the stilts on her little home so she'll fare better ahead of the next big storm.

Meanwhile, in Charleston, Jackie Cuvin has been busy.

JACKIE CUVIN: Good afternoon. This is Jackie.

ALLYN: Cuvin works as a customer service representative at Dominion Energy and is trying to ease the tens of thousands of residents who still have no power from Dorian. Calls like this have been nonstop.

CUVIN: Oh, yes, ma'am. And I'm so sorry for the inconvenience of hearing the power being out. But I'll be more than happy to check on the status of that outage.

ALLYN: For Charleston resident Leo Chiagkouris, calling the power company doesn't help him get through a storm, but something else does.

LEO CHIAGKOURIS: Faith and believe in God. And I'm not a holy roller, but I always say my prayers.

ALLYN: Dorian was the fifth hurricane for Chiagkouris, who is a restaurant owner, so he knows the drill well - put up some walls, get out the water pumps, get the kids ready, take out the generator.

CHIAGKOURIS: We live in a beautiful area where that's the only drawback. So we just say, OK. Come on, hurricane. We'll take care of you.

ALLYN: Around the city, crews are still cleaning up hundreds of trees that the storm knocked down and fixing up buildings that suffered damage. But Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg says the city's lucky it wasn't worse. Hurricane management has in recent years been a major part of his job, and every time it puts him in the spotlight, it's not the kind of attention he likes.

JOHN TECKLENBURG: Y'all seem to come to town only to see the bad news or the bad weather. And it's such a beautiful, vibrant city. We welcome you back to come in a time where you can just enjoy yourself.

ALLYN: But first, he says, let us get all the trees out of the way.

Bobby Allyn, NPR News, Charleston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.