You named them right. When I first started going to Portsmouth there were only three. Then hurricanes have since filled in and reopened old drum inlet twice, created Ophelia inlet and filled in new drum inlet.
After hurricane Ophelia in 2003 it was five islands, Portsmouth, Johns, Ophelia, South Core and Shackleford.
Now it’s back to the original three unless it’s a bad storm tide and old drum inlet gets flooded temporarily recreating John’s island.
Swash inlet up toward Ocracoke floods in storm tides once in a while but it’s so large and flat up there that the water just spreads out instead of carving a new permanent inlet.
The hurricane in 2011 over washed Portsmouth at the ferry landing and filled it in with sand which has since been dredged out. The next direct Cat 3 or higher that hits there will likely cut a new inlet at that location and permanently close the fish camp.
If you use the google earth timeline you can see the inlets opening and closing.
Saw a lot of damage on Hatteras, dodged a lot of drifting sand, drove through a lot of it, over a temporary one lane steel plate bridge just above Rodanthe at Mirlo Beach. Several of those fine juniper-shingled Hatteras style beach houses with towers had pitched over into the surf. New inlet trying to form there. All there is now is beach, narrow dune line, 12, narrow shoulder then the sound.
Other than sand on the road, Ocracoke was unscathed. Village being soundside sheltered them I guess. Didn't get much beach time, the wind was still up, stinging sand. Good shelling though, always is after a storm. Occasionally old shipwrecks get exposed afterward, so there's that too.