"Lives have been lost, homes and property destroyed. But this storm could have been worse, and North Carolinians are resilient," she said.
Perdue toured an emergency shelter Monday in Rocky Mount. More than 100 people remain at the church, most of them from hard-hit Hyde and Tyrell counties along the coast.
The Governor said preliminary estimates of damages caused by Hurricane Irene to residents and businesses should be ready by the end of the week.
In a Monday afternoon news conference, Perdue said she is seeking a swift federal disaster declaration for seven coastal counties so people there can qualify for individual grants and loans from the federal government.
Purdue said she is particularly concerned about agriculture damage and for citizens who lost everything to flooding.
Officials are keeping an eye on inland flooding on the Tar River and the Northeast Cape Fear River at Burgaw.
Hurricane Irene churned ashore as a Category 1 storm in North Carolina Saturday morning with top sustained winds of 85 mph. Landfall was near Cape Lookout around 7:30 a.m. There were immediate reports of flooding, power outages, and damage.
In Dare County, officials said 2,500 people on Hatteras Island on North Carolina's Outer Banks were cut off by the storm. No one was being allowed on the Bonner Bridge and three sections of state Highway 12 on Hatteras Island were impassable because of damage from the sand and water.
Hyde County officials said a half-mile of NC 12 on Ocracoke Island was also washed out.
Ferries will bring supplies and people to Hatteras Island until the road damage can be repaired. An emergency ferry route was running from Stumpy Point to an emergency ferry dock at Rodanthe. The boats are not taking people, just dry goods and supplies. Only emergency workers were being allowed to travel to the island Monday. Residents were expected to be allowed to return Tuesday.
Currituck County will reopen the Outer Banks areas of Corolla and Carova Beach to the general public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. NC 12 had been impassable past the Town of Duck.
Storm surge floods homes
Some of the worst flooding from Hurricane Irene happened in New Bern, where the storm pushed water from the Pamlico Sound up the Neuse River and into the city of about 30,000 people.
Associated Press photographer Chuck Burton visited Aurora in Beaufort County and found homes leveled by the waves pushed up the Pamlico River.
Also in Craven County, officials estimated that swells from the Neuse River destroyed 20 to 25 houses further to the east in Harlowe. Volunteer Fire Chief Jeremy Brown said 10-foot swells from the river broke on top of houses. Some of the destroyed homes had been rebuilt after Isabel in 2003.
Sound flooding was also reported in Carteret, and Hyde counties.
Damage reported far inland
Closer to Raleigh, Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs told Governor Perdue Monday his city plans to spend $2 million removing debris and asked for extra assistance.
Wayne County officials reported that part of the roof collapsed at the Berkeley Mall in Goldsboro. A Belk store was evacuated, but there were no reports of injuries.
On the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, part of the roof of an administrative building was blown off and there were some windows broken. The school was closed Monday and Tuesday for repairs.
Hundreds of viewers across the Triangle reported trees down around their homes and power outages.
Power companies are working to restore the widespread outages that occurred during the storm.
The governor said downed power lines and trees and flooded roads continued to make many areas dangerous and urged people affected by the storm to continue to stay inside. Perdue also said three emergency management centers in Hyde, Dare and Pamlico counties are distributing food, water, and tarps.
The governor cautioned that river levels may continue to rise in coming days. She said water rescue and urban search-and-rescue teams are ready to deploy.
Perdue said the Governor's hurricane hotline is open for people who need help. Residents can call (888) 835-9966. The deaf and hard of hearing can call (877) 877-1765. More is also available at www.readync.org
Evacuations and Re-entry
Several counties along the North Carolina coast issued mandatory evacuations ahead of Hurricane Irene's arrival and some residents were still in shelters Monday.
For residents needing assistance, there are two main numbers to call:
- FEMA (800) 621-3362
- Red Cross (800) 999-6828
Help is available in Dare County through Dare County Social Services and the American Red Cross. If you need this assistance call (252) 475-5655.
Before attempting re-entry to Dare County, or the Currituck Outer Banks, visit www.darenc.com or call (877) 629-4386 for updated information regarding when re-entry will be permitted. Once re-entry is allowed, you should also call your accommodations provider to confirm that lodging will be available.
The mayor of Pine Knoll Shores told ABC11 Sunday the NC 58 Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach bridges are open.
Currituck County Government opened an emergency shelter Sunday for county residents displaced by Hurricane Irene. It's in the gymnasium at Currituck County High School, located at 4203 Caratoke Highway. Residents should bring necessary personal items to the shelter, including clothing, bedding and medicines. Pets will NOT be allowed in the shelter.
Residents can call (252) 232-6041 with questions regarding the shelter. For general storm-related information, citizens can call the Currituck Emergency Hotline at (252) 232-6010, visit www.CurrituckGovernment.com, www.VisitCurrituck.com or follow CurrituckGov on Twitter.