"Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina (CNN) -- North Carolina dealt with widespread power outages and flooding Saturday morning as Hurricane Irene continued its northward trek along the East Coast, with Norfolk, Virginia, and the Hampton Roads area next in its sights.
Irene made landfall about 7:30 a.m. Saturday near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center. It brought high winds, heavy rain and a flooding storm surge that cut off thousands of residents in Beaufort and in Carteret and Pamlico counties, the state Emergency Management Agency reported.
The storm was blamed for a death Saturday morning, when a tree limb fell on a man feeding livestock, an emergency official in Nash County said. On Friday, a man suffered a heart attack as he put plywood over the windows of his home in Onslow County, the state emergency agency confirmed.
As of 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Irene was centered about 50 miles west of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving northward at 15 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm remained a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended as far as 90 miles from the center, the agency said.....
Irene Makes Landfall
Windbursts Almost Knocks Over Reporter
"CNN's Brian Todd reports from Wilmington, North Carolina where the winds are picking up and officials predict flooding"
"(CNN) -- A furious Hurricane Irene exacted a heavy toll on North Carolina, claiming at least six lives, peeling siding off houses and plunging hundreds of thousands of homes in darkness.
About 2,500 people who defied mandatory evacuation orders were stranded on Hatteras Island after pounding surf washed over dunes, covering roads with water and sand. The flooding cut off the island from the mainland.
"There was a lot of carnage on Hatteras Island, and I feel for those people," U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. William Lee told CNN after surveying the damage from the air.
One home on the island was burning, possibly from downed power lines, and Lee said the home appeared to be a "total loss."
Three of North Carolina's deaths involved traffic wrecks during the storm. Another person died when he was hit by a tree limb, while feeding livestock. A fifth died of a heart attack as he was putting plywood over this windows ahead of the storm's arrival.
Some 525,000 were without power Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Irene stomped across the state most of the day Saturday after a morning landfall near Cape Lookout at the southern end of the Outer Banks.
Most of the damage was centered between Cape Hatteras and Oregon Inlet, Lee said.
The storm ripped shingles and siding off buildings in Atlantic Beach, knocked over a church steeple and flooded homes in low-lying areas. At least 10 major roads were closed and airports were forced to shut down, Gov. Bev Perdue said.
The hurricane unleashed 10 to 14 inches of rain over much of North Carolina and pushed a 4-foot storm surge into the Chesapeake Bay, the National Hurricane Center said.
By midnight Saturday, Kill Devil Hills had endured 31 hours of nonstop rainfall. Firefighters waded through knee-high flood waters as they responded to calls in the community.
The nearby town of Wanchese was reported under water, officials said.
In Duck, North Carolina, the storm pushed water from the Currituck Sound inlet out to the sea, resident Gregg Nigro said.
"Once the storm's eye passes and the wind shifts, we will see flooding and erosion," he said Saturday.
In Greenville, Mike Sharpe woke to find water under his living room door.
"The front parking lot is just as flooded, and the cars have water up past their doors," he said. "Everybody's a little worried. We didn't expect to have any flooding. That's something we weren't prepared for."
Glenn Williams watched the storm from his downtown Raleigh office.
"I just come down here in the hurricane because it's safer than it is at home where all the trees are at," he told CNN affiliate WRAL-TV.
Through it all, residents maintained their good humor.
In Kill Devil Hills, the boarded-up shop windows displayed spray-painted missives to Irene: "I have enough women in my life, Irene," said one. "No crabs for Irene," said another at a seafood shop. "Don't be mean, Irene," said a third.
In some areas, beachcombers looked for any shells Irene had deposited.
Surfers reveled at their good fortune at Wrightsville Beach, taking advantage of the bigger waves dished up in the aftermath of the storm.
"It's the wind and the waves and the culture," Dane Reynolds telling WRAL why he was out in the post-storm surf. "It's all about the culture of the surf community."