August 28, 2011 12:27 PM

It's not glamorous to cover a hurricane

As darkness fell Saturday a surge of water from the sound flooded Nags Head, in what served as Hurricane Irene's final curse on this spit of sand that guards against the Atlantic Ocean. Just then, my cellphone rang. "I think you'll be dining on your own," said News & Observer photographer Shawn Rocco, my tag-team partner who was trying to return to our hotel -- the unofficial media bunker for the storm. "I can't get through."

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