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Watch: Beachfront homes along Outer Banks, N.C., keep crumbling into the ocean

By Allison Finch, AccuWeather, Accuweather.com

The Atlantic Ocean claimed two more beachfront homes along North Carolina's famous Outer Banks Tuesday.

Dramatic video released by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore shows waves crashing on the crumbled homes on Hatteras Island, which is in Rodanthe, N.C.

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One video even captured the shocking moment a house succumbed to the ocean as the high tide crept up Tuesday afternoon. The homes that fell into the Atlantic Tuesday aren't the first to collapse into the ocean and they won't be the last, according to local officials.

In a news release, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore confirmed the first house, located on Ocean Drive, was unoccupied when it collapsed early Tuesday morning before the sun rose. The second house, located adjacent to the first house on Ocean Drive, was also unoccupied when it fell into the ocean, according to a news release from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

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Beaches along all of Ocean Drive in Rodanthe have been closed to protect the public from the hazards associated with the collapsed home and the dangers of additional homes in the area also collapsing.

Just a few months ago, another Rodanthe home collapsed into the ocean and left a 15-mile-long trail of debris in the water. After the February incident, the National Park Services and county representatives held a public meeting in March to discuss the status of other homes that were in danger. It was determined that there were approximately nine additional homes in the Rodanthe area that were on the verge of collapsing, according to the Island Free Press.

"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," said David Hallac, the superintendent of National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, in a social media post.

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Dare County Commissioner Danny Couch reiterated that many people are aware of how dangerously close these houses are to falling into the ocean. He told AccuWeather in an interview that the storm that is sitting right offshore has led to higher-than-normal tides, which have only accelerated the process of these houses succumbing to the ocean.

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"Beginning the first of the year, we knew that a loss of one or more houses was inevitable," said Couch. "We lost one in February and we lost another one [Tuesday morning] with this stationary weather system, and I anticipate there will be one to two more in the immediate future, if not before this system leaves our area."

As the storm continues to stall just offshore, flooding and high tides are still a concern in Rodanthe. The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning and high surf advisory, which will both be in effect until Thursday morning.

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The Cape Hatteras National Seashore will work closely with the homeowners to coordinate the cleanup of these two homes and are advising visitors to use caution when participating in recreational activities on the beach and in the ocean as debris from these collapsed homes can be widely spread across Hatteras Island.

More and more homes are crumbling into the ocean because the erosion rate along the North Carolina coast is significantly high. In Rodanthe, the coastal erosion rate is about 6 feet per year, according to the Coastal Resource Commission's interactive map.

Prior to this year, the last home that was washed away was in 2020, which left a trail of debris along the shoreline. And nearly 10 years ago, in 2012, a beach house that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy collapsed into the ocean.

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