State and federal officials are scrambling all over eastern North Carolina to assess the damage inflicted by monster Hurricane Irene which made landfall near Cape Lookout early Saturday morning.

At least five storm-related deaths have been recorded in the state.

Overall, torrential rains and fierce winds have left 500,000 without electric power; and thousands on the Outer Banks remain in areas inaccessible from the mainland highways.

Several villages between Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills in the central part of the Outer Banks are cut off -- 228 roads and 21 bridges in the area are closed.

According to reports, people are still trapped by rising floodwaters.

Officials have reportedly rescued hundreds of people in vulnerable regions, including nine people rescued by boat in Northampton County; as well as dozens of such mercy missions in Beaufort, Craven and Pamlico Counties.

Craig Fugate, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told a press conference that it will be several days before his organization can determine the financial costs of storm damages. The agency has delivered several power generators to the state.

Meanwhile, the state has opened 56 shelters for evacuees, which are housing about 4700 people, particularly in Beaufort County, which was hammered by 85 mph winds all Saturday.

We've taken a hard hit, a county official said late Saturday. The level of winds we've had, we've had them all day, and we're still in the midst. It's just a mess.

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue said the state and our people have sustained some really significant damage. It's been a hard day for all of us in North Carolina.”