Retreat in Rodanthe Interactive Feature – the Washington Post

Rodanthe Homes (by Rick Rowland CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).
Rodanthe Homes (by Rick Rowland CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

Along three blocks in a North Carolina beach town, severe erosion is upending life, forcing hard choices and offering a glimpse of the dilemmas other coastal communities will face…

Early last year, a house crumbled into the sea in this small Outer Banks community, home to some of the most rapid rates of erosion and sea level rise on the East Coast.

Not long after, another house fell. And then another.

Wave after wave, the ocean had clawed away at the beach until the stilted homes finally gave way. The collapses spread debris — and anxiety — for more than a dozen miles along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. A video that captured one house surrendering to the surf in May went viral, bringing national attention to the urgency of the problem along this scenic stretch of coast.

Rodanthe’s struggles encapsulate thorny and unresolved issues around risky coastal development, the unevenness of real estate disclosures, questions about personal risk, the difficulties of protecting oceanfront properties and the obstacles to moving people out of harm’s way when necessary…


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