Her thoughts flashed to escape routes as her beachside trailer rose into the air, but Davy’s mouth also repeated a quiet prayer of “ Oh my God, oh my God, ”over and over again. By her fourth short, divine plea, she felt her home come back to earth.
“It’s very frightening,” she said, sitting on the stoop outside her trailer a few days after Thursday’s scare . “I called my son, and he came over and made me leave right away.”
That fear turned to sadness for many in this close-knit town on Bogue’s Bank, a barrier island off North Carolina’s coast. As insurance adjusters made their rounds, it would soon come time for a decision on whether to try to recover or never return.
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The community had largely left ahead of warnings thatHurricane Dorianwould strike their peaceful island oasis. But before the storm even began to bear down, a waterspout formedabove the Atlantic Oceanon Thursday and turned these island refuges into unrecognizable sheets of twisted metal and broken glass.
“People here have lost their happy place,” Davy said. “Some folks have fallen all to pieces.”
Across the street from Davy, the once familiar line of trailers and mobile homes colorfully decorated with bright island themes had been leveled into a long stretch of debris.
Arlene Cotty, 66, sat in a chair and rested as two of her closest friends picked through the wreckage to find a few of her belongings. She almost lost this home in Hurricane Florence in 2018, but this time she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to rebuild.
“I’m upset, but it’s gone,” she said, her voice trembling. “I don’t imagine at this point that I could come back if I wanted to.”
Phil McCausland is an NBC News reporter focused on the rural-urban divide.