Ocracoke resident describes ‘phenom’ of bizarre Dorian

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By Jeanne Robertson

OCRACOKE – Rudy ‘Buddy’ Austin, 77, is a lifelong resident of Ocracoke Island. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview him during his recent visit to Oriental.

“I have lived on Ocracoke all my life and only evacuated years ago when my children were so young,” explained Buddy. ” I am here to stay with the Spruills and pick up my truck tomorrow in New Bern. Every vehicle was destroyed on the island by the flooding of Dorian.”

Rudy Austin and his wife Pat recounted the effects of Dorian.


”Why did you stay?” I asked.

“We stayed on the island since my children have grown up and this hurricane was no different. We prepared as did all the residents along the coast of North Carolina. Dorian, a Category 3 hurricane, was no different as the storm skirted the coast of the eastern US.

“The night the storm was as expected, high gusts of wind and some flooding. At daybreak, things took on a ‘phenom.’ The water started to come towards us like a tsunami. I had never seen the water that high before. As the water reached the porch, I told Pat, we needed to start putting things up.

“I started to put things on the dining room table and turned to my wife – she was holding the crab pots. Crab pots, decorative as they may be, can get wet. I realized my wife was in shock! All our preparation now seemed to be not enough. We had already stuffed towels in between the storm door and the doors and now to see a wave coming at us and white capping on the front porch, our preparation was not enough!

“Only in a span of less than 30 minutes, the island took on the worst damage anyone ever experienced. Residents that stayed were swimming to houses that were on stilts. Some residents even got in boats and kayaks as the water got higher and higher.

” The water came down the street and rose so high and then the wind switched and the water sucked out of the village, moving cars, trees, and anything in its path. The water never came into our house, but the devastation was something I had never experienced.”

Rudy and Pat Austin experienced Dorian and now are recovering. The little island of Ocracoke reports new damages as each day unfolds – another thing no one has experienced. Ocracoke is recovering, slowly, picking themselves up, rebuilding, and will be there for the next time