Two beachfront homes in North Carolina’s Outer Banks collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, brought down by the rush of powerful waves, high tides and whipping winds.
The first home, which was unoccupied, fell Tuesday at Ocean Drive in Rodanthe, the National Park Service said.
The beach along Ocean Drive was closed as a precaution “to protect the public from hazards associated with the collapsed home” as officials warned that more residences could follow suit.
Hours later, a second unoccupied home, also on Ocean Drive, crumbled into the water, the park service said.
Dramatic video posted by the park service at Cape Hatteras National Seashore shows the moment the second home, a two-story residence standing on wooden support beams on the sand overlooking the ocean, buckled and fell in the waves.
The severe weather churning though the area appeared to eat the sand from under the home, toppling it. At first the home remained intact as it was pushed around in the surf, but it eventually broke apart, sending pieces of debris into the ocean.
It wasn't the first time homes had collapsed in the Outer Banks.
In February, another house on Ocean Drive fell, and debris “spread across many miles of beaches" before a cleanup event was organized, the park service said. Cleanup efforts for smaller pieces of debris from the incident still continue, officials said.
“Unfortunately, there may be more houses that collapse onto Seashore beaches in the near future,” David Hallac, the superintendent of 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.”
Strong weather has been battering the Southeast coast this week with dangerous rip currents, rough surf, coastal flooding and some possible beach erosion forecast Wednesday.
In North Carolina's Outer Banks region, coastal flooding warnings and high surf advisories remain in effect through Thursday, in addition to beach hazards through Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
The agency warned that 2 to 4 feet of coastal flooding above ground level is expected near vulnerable dune structures. Large breaking waves of 10 to 15 feet in the surf zone are possible.
The state Transportation Department announced the closing of Highway 12 this week and shared photos of sand and water covering roads in the extreme weather conditions.