Two unoccupied homes on the seashore of Rodanthe, N.C., collapsed into the ocean on Tuesday — and officials warned that more may follow “in the near future.”
The Outer Banks is currently experiencing beach erosion and overwash resulting from a nor’easter along the coast, WCNC Charlotte reported, raising the possibility of additional houses giving way as the area continues to feel the impact of the storm.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) has confirmed that an unoccupied house at 24265 Ocean Drive, Rodanthe, N.C. collapsed this afternoon. This is the second unoccupied house collapse of the day at the Seashore. Read more: https://t.co/ZPUiklQAWA pic.twitter.com/OMoPNCpbzk— Cape Hatteras National Seashore (@CapeHatterasNPS) May 10, 2022
Reports of the collapsed houses were confirmed by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The organization posted a video of the second collapse, which shows the stilts of the home first breaking apart and then the remaining structure being carried away by the waves.
And this isn’t the first time a house has fallen apart in the area.
This past February, a home also collapsed in Rodanthe — and the debris from that house “spread across many miles of beach” before a cleanup event could be organized to remove it, according to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Those cleanup efforts continue.
“Unfortunately, there may be more houses that collapse onto Seashore beaches in the near future,” David Hallac, the superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, said in a statement. “We proactively reached out to homeowners along Ocean Drive in Rodanthe after the first house collapse and recommended that actions be taken to prevent collapse and impacts to Cape Hatteras National Seashore.”
The beach has been closed along Ocean Drive – where the houses were located – in order to protect the public from hazards associated with the collapsed homes and because of the looming threat of more following suit, according to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Jenni Koontz, a photographer who has been documenting the first house for several months, told 3 WTKR that while the situation is “overwhelming and dramatic,” it comes with “living here on the sandbar.”
“You know, it’s shifting sand, and it’s bound to happen. So, it’s not really shocking that it’s happening, but it is shocking to watch,” she said. “There’s a lot of swell and wind, and it’s gotten higher each day of this Nor’easter.”
Sea level rise due to climate change is likely exacerbating such problems on the Outer Banks.
“It’s a combination of climate change [rising seas] and the strong coastal low,” WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said. “The coastal low is bringing in onshore winds and causing the high tides to be even higher.”