One to two feet of water covered roadways in the community of Buxton on Cape Hatteras early Friday, pushing loose debris around including plywood, boards, a gas station ice cooler and a trash bin.
Several miles away, Nancy Scarborough of Hatteras also said she had about a foot of water underneath her stilted home.
Mark Van Sciver from the North Carolina Emergency Operations Center said teams were moving out to assess damage. No injuries have been reported.
Earl's center passed east of Cape Hatteras early Friday with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. It was on track for the Northeast coast.