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A tornado fueled by Hurricane Dorian leaves the island city of NC wondering if it can recover



EMERALD ISLE, NC – Joan Davy, 83, clutched her kitchen counter when she felt the tornado start lifting her home, carrying water sprayed with water and shredding trailers in the mobile home park she operated 20 years. [19659002] Her thoughts flashed to escape the routes when her beach trailer rose in the air, but Davy's mouth also repeated the silent prayer "Oh my God, oh my God" over and over. Her fourth short, divine plea felt that her home was coming back to earth.

"It's very scary," she said, sitting on the stool in front of her trailer a few days after the fright on Thursday. "I called my son and he came and made me leave immediately."

A family examines their destroyed home Saturday with an insurance corrector after a tornado caused by Hurricane Dorian to break through a mobile home park in Emerald Island, North Carolina, days earlier. Residents had just recovered from Hurricane Florence, which flooded the park a year ago. Ed Ou / NBC News

This fear has become a sadness for many in this woven city of the Bogue Bank, a barrier island off the North Carolina coast. While insurance correspondents make their rounds, it will soon be time to decide whether to try to recover or never to return.

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The community has largely left warnings that Hurricane Dorian will strike at their serene island. But before the storm even began to subside, an aqueduct formed Thursday over the Atlantic, turning these island refuges into unrecognizable sheets of shattered metal and broken glass.

"People here have lost their happy place," Davy said. "Some people have broken up."

Arlene Cottie, 66, sat in a chair and rested, while two of her closest friends searched the remains to find some of her belongings. She almost lost that home in Hurricane Florence in 2018, but this time she wasn't sure if she could recover.

"I'm upset, but she's gone," she said, her voice trembling. "At this point, I don't imagine I could go back if I wanted to."

Brody Napier, Tyler Holland Napier and Adina Napier, clean outside Artisan and Granite Inc., a countertop company in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, on Saturday after the tornado caused widespread devastation in the area. The mother-son business had contracts for the next three months, but the owners are also concerned about their 13 employees. Ed Ou / NBC News

Flattened buildings meant that there was no refuge from the hot sun or the thick humidity of pudding on these long stretches of sidewalk. However, Kotti's two friends continued to dig. Most importantly, they had deployed her dog's ashes and a keyhole embossed with her mother's image.

When Gov. Roy Cooper toured the boardwalk RV park earlier on Saturday, he emphasized the needs of those affected by the storm in the North. Carolina, noting that 57,000 people in the state, including those living in the park, were without power.

"People on earth who feel the effects of Dorian are the focus of our attention today," Cooper said in a statement. "The first priority is to get food, water and medical help for the needy. Utilities are working hard to restore energy, and we want life back to normal in eastern North Carolina. "

But not only homes were destroyed when the tornado made landfall. Almost a family's livelihood took a direct hit.

Mike Denmid, 36, and his mother, Linda Denmid, 70, have run granite countertops, Artisan and Granite Inc., to mobile home park since 2006. The structure, where polished sheets of stone were pulled into the air by a twister, who passed it through the roof of the building that houses their showroom, and eventually threw it 150 yards into a nearby water park.

When he saw the broken granite and the collapsed roof, Denmead said he felt a huge void. His thoughts turned to his 13 employees who depended on him, as well as the near-quarterly contracts they had yet to fulfill.

Mary Wales (right) and Charlene Lewis help sift through the wreckage of their Arlene Cotty cellphone on Saturday in Emerald Island, North Carolina. The mobile home was destroyed by a tornado caused by Hurricane Dorian days earlier. Cottie said she was not sure if she would be able to recover again after losing her home a year earlier in Hurricane Florence. Ed Ou / NBC News

"I mean, my building, what am I going to do," Dundid said in his granite hall, noting that his mother had just taken her first day off from Hurricane Florence this past Labor Day. "My Boys: They Are Relying on Me. My Customers: Relying on Me."

But while some say they are not sure if they will return, Denmead said he feels confident that many will plan

He said he was trying to treat this tragedy as an opportunity – the alternative was far away.

"I can stop everyone egatives, because that's the easiest thing, but what we have to do is just keep going, "he said." Now we can restore and fix things. "[19659027] Image: Phil McCausland" class = "headshot ___ 3D_6B w3-print "/> Phil McCausland

Phil McCausland is a NBC News reporter focused on the rural-urban divide.


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