LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) -- Storm surges from Hurricane Irene were not as bad as expected, but the full extent of the damage from the deadly storm is not yet known.

Gov. Bob McDonnell warned Saturday night that Irene's 80 mph winds hitting during high tide could produce record storm surges of up to 8 feet.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Montefusco says Norfolk came closest, with a storm surge of 7.55 feet.

Montefusco says while the surge didn't break records, it produced serious flooding. Six to 8 inches of rainfall fell over the region, with more to come.

One tornado was suspected of causing some damage in Chincoteague. Officials say one ripped the roofs off five homes in Sandbridge.

Irene was blamed for three deaths, more than 100 road closures and nearly 1 million power outages.

Irene made its official landfall just after first light near Cape Lookout, N.C., at the southern end of the Outer Banks, the ribbon of land that bows out into the Atlantic Ocean. While it was too early to assess the full extent of damage, shorefront hotels and houses were lashed with waves, two piers were destroyed and at least one hospital was forced to run on generator power.

'Things are banging against the house,' Leon Reasor said as he rode out the storm in the town of Buxton, N.C. 'I just hate hurricanes.'

Eastern North Carolina got 10 to 14 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Virginia's Hampton Roads area was drenched with at least nine inches, with 16 reported in some spots.

By late Saturday night, the storm had sustained winds of 80 mph, down from 100 mph on Friday. That made it a Category 1, the least threatening on a 1-to-5 scale, and barely stronger than a tropical storm.

Nevertheless, it was still considered highly dangerous, capable of causing ruinous flooding across much of the East Coast with a combination of storm surge, high tides and 6 to 12 inches of rain.

There were no hurricane-force winds over land Sunday morning; they were limited to a relatively small area over the Atlantic Ocean as the eye of the storm traveled over water after touching down in North Carolina. But tropical-storm-force winds still covered a wide area of land, and Irene was still expected to be a hurricane when its eye made landfall again in the New York area around noon Sunday.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.wvec.com/story/news/2014/09/05/14726660/