, They Rode Out Dorian in the Outer Banks. Now Comes the Hard Part.

OCRACOKE, N.C. — The baby was playing on the flooded floor again.

Jade Lopez scooped up her 11-month-old son, José, and wiped the long black bangs out of his eyes as he showed off a dirty plastic humidifier he had found. It had been just one day since Hurricane Dorian flooded the family’s trailer and gutted their taco shop, and already the stench of rot was creeping in.

Her husband had torn up the soggy carpet, and Ms. Lopez, 21, had scrubbed the floors and heaped the soaked clothes in the bathtub. But as she and her two children sat in the broiling kitchen on Saturday afternoon, with the power out and their flooded generator out of commission, she said she felt surrounded by that smell, and by the scale of what they had lost.

“Everything,” she said.

While Hurricane Dorian largely spared the United States coast, it leveled a direct hit on the 800 people who had remained in the village near the southern tip of Ocracoke Island, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A seven-foot surge from Pamlico Sound washed over the island, gushing into people’s living rooms and burbling up through their heating vents and the cracks in their floorboards. Seawater filled bathtubs from the drain up and sent people racing to the second floors of their homes — and then it retreated just as quickly as it had come.

Unlike in the Bahamas, where the death toll from the storm is in the dozens and rising daily, no lives were lost in Ocracoke. But much of the village was left a soggy, isolated mess.

“I’ve been through every storm,” said Dan Garrish, 66, as he sat in a love seat in his driveway, surrounded by a dripping pile of clothes, books and everything else from his bedroom. “I’ve never seen water come in like this.”

To get to Ocracoke on Saturday morning, a photographer and I hitched a ride with an extremely unofficial five-man volunteer relief crew who said they had helped pull people from floods during Hurricane Harvey in Houston in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas last year.

They had cases of water, military rations and chain saws to clear debris. What they did not have was a boat that could make the 30-mile trip across Pamlico Sound. About an hour into the journey, the outboard motor on their 20-foot fishing boat groaned and died.

We bobbed listlessly for an hour while the relief crew called for a tow, spliced wires and performed oil-covered surgery on the smoldering motor. I flagged down a private fishing boat of part-time Ocracoke residents who graciously let the photographer and I scramble aboard. After ensuring that the relief crew was not in danger and had enough engine power to putter back to land, we roared off for Ocracoke.

She and her husband, José Alfredo Suazo, started the taqueria last year. People loved their mahi-mahi tacos and chimichangas, and though making money was hard when they had to pay more than $2,000 in rent on their shop and trailer home, Ms. Lopez said they poured their profits back into the taco stand and a new food truck.

“It was nice,” her brother-in-law, Wilmer Dominguez, said as he sifted through the food-covered kitchen of the taco stand. “Before.”

Ocracoke’s tourist-dependent restaurants and hotels have to make enough money during the summer to survive the emptier winter months, and some residents said that Hurricane Dorian had slammed the doors early on this year’s busy season. Ms. Lopez said she did not know whether they would reopen, or even stay on Ocracoke.

“After this?” she said. “No.”

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