Doug Smith and his girlfriend Trenor Bender thought the worst of Hurricane Sandy had passed them by when they looked out the windows in the wee hours today. At their rental home, three rows back from the beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, there was no water in the yard at all at 3:30 this morning. But that didn't last.
"When I woke up, I couldn't believe it," says Smith of the view just a few hours later, "I saw this sheet of water on the ground."
Fortunately, Smith was in the second story of his house. The pictures taken with his phone tell the story water had surged over the beach and the dunes, not only covering the street, but swamping cars and the ground level of many houses nearby.
Smith and his one-year-old daughter were evacuated from their home by emergency officials on a military-like vehicle. Bender was taken safety in a canoe. They're now staying with family nearby.
(Franklyn Cater is a producer for All Things Considered.)