High tides in Rodanthe, where the home was located, have been slightly higher than normal over the past couple of days due to persistent onshore wind. The waves are also spreading the home wreckage along the Outer Banks shoreline, according to the National Park Service.
The National Park Service also said in 2020 it was planning to relocate the Long Point Cabins in Cape Lookout National Seashore, which is south of Rodanthe, because more frequently they were being overwhelmed by high tides and hurricane storm surge.
“The NPS cannot sustain the Long Point Cabins where they are right now,” the Park Service wrote on Facebook at the time. “20 years ago, there was over 300′ of beach and dunes between the cabins and high tide. Today, there is 48′ of flat sand.”
Because of the home collapse and the associated debris, Park Service officials warned visitors to Cape Hatteras, which includes Rodanthe, to use caution when walking along the beach or engaging in any recreational activities along the shores between the villages of Rodanthe and Salvo. The Park Service said rangers are working with county officials to clean up the debris as well as remove the remnants of the home.
While authorities have not determined the precise cause of the latest collapse in Rodanthe, scientists have showed the increasing risk coastal communities face due to sea level rise, worsening erosion and high-tide flooding.
Many coastal communities in the United States experience nuisance flooding, or high-tide flooding, on a regular basis. Higher sea levels, caused by warmer water temperatures and melting glaciers and ice sheets, increase the hazards coastal homeowners are exposed to. Hurricane storm surge is creeping higher, and homes and other critical infrastructure are now exposed to saltwater and erosion that they weren’t a few decades ago.