On Tuesday, among the high tides and strong winds caused by the storm, two non-residential houses in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, fell into the ocean. One fell early in the morning. Another one that fell during the day was caught on video. The houses were on the same stretch of beach, and both were on Ocean Drive in Rodanthe, a small unincorporated community. No one was hurt, but the destruction is a stark reminder of the conflict between human infrastructure and rising sea levels.
Barrier islands are inherently unstable, constantly changing, and must transform with the tides. They protect coastal areas from storms and provide a natural form of increased mainland resilience. Unfortunately, barrier islands are also considered to be desirable locations for seafront rental properties. The problem with this in full screen is Flickr National Park Services an account that has several videos and photos of yesterday’s damage.
This is not the first time buildings in the Outer Banks have collapsed due to the tides. In February, another house fell in the same area, and the National Park Service has warned that 11 other homes are in immediate danger, according to a report by The Outer Banks Voice. In fact, moving buildings to avoid collapse as the coastline shifts is a common occurrence across the 200-mile stretch of barrier islands. In 1999, the National Park Service even rescheduled a historic, 200 feet tall the lighthouse is nearly 3,000 feet to get it off the water.
And NC Highway 12, which is the only road that connects most of the Outer Banks to the rest of North Carolina, is also often the victim of bad weather and tides that bring washout, sand and debris. Long stretch of highway remains closed as of noon Wednesday.
Tides and storms are common on the East Coast, especially on the volatile and open barrier islands. But anthropogenic climate change making them worse. Sea level rise along the Cape Hatteras National Coast is steadily increasing more than 5 millimeters Every year. Some beaches lose over 14 feet annually due to erosion. making report from The New York Times.
Out of all its sites, the National Park Service estimates that the Outer Banks are set to experience the most sea level rise. According to the worst climate forecasts, by 2050 storm surge in full flood the barrier island system south of the Wright brothers’ memorial. The NPS estimates that sea levels on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore could rise by more than 2.5 feet by 2100. report for 2018. At the same time, hurricanes drain more water and getting strongerand the hurricane season starting earlierprobably due to climate change.
Then there is the issue of human infrastructure. aggravation of the erosion pattern. The construction of rigid structures such as wharves was banned in Outer Banks for decades, because while they may increase wave protection in one area, they redirect and increase that loss of land elsewhere. But existing buildings and maintaining The infrastructure of the islands is still taking its toll.
TThe Outer Banks are more than just a place to relax. Over 35,000 people live on the barrier islands all year round. Among those local communities controversy around the islands managerial and environmental policy raged for decades. The building is collapsing like this example how easy it could wash everything off. However, in the near future, the beaches near the fallen houses will be closed for clean-up work.