Dangerous swells associated with Category 2 Hurricane Earl have prompted warnings for tourists to avoid the oceanside beaches of Rodanthe within Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The village is notorious for having homes too close to the ocean, and efforts are underway to move at least three as the hurricane nears, officials said.
“Distant Hurricane Earl has produced ocean overwash on seashore beaches since yesterday (Sept. 8) and is forecast to continue impacting beaches through this weekend,” Cape Hatteras officials said in a news release. “Avoiding the approximately two-mile stretch of beach is recommended due to ocean overwash, rough surf and debris from nearby houses, including open and damaged septic tanks on the beach.”
The stretch of hazardous beach is the heavily residential area between north Rodanthe and South Seashore Drive.
Hurricane Earl is more than 700 miles off the North Carolina coast and will not make landfall in the United States.
However, its 100-mph winds are generating powerful swells, and experts predict they will worsen due to a Sept. 10 full moon and the arrival of king tides, which occur when the orbits of the Earth, moon and sun align to create “the greatest tidal effects of the year.”
The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood advisory for North Carolina and predicts “up to 2 feet of inundation above ground level in low-lying areas near shorelines and tidal waterways.”
“Some roads and low lying property including parking lots, parks, lawns, and homes adjacent to the waterfront will experience shallow flooding,” forecasters say.
Dangerous rip currents are also expected, and multiple warnings have been issued for people to stay out of the ocean in coming days.
The National Park Service reports permits to move the three homes in Rodanthe homes were issued prior to Hurricane Earl’s formation. All three are on South Shore Drive, on the south end of Rodanthe, officials said.
Beachfront homes in Rodanthe have come under increased scrutiny this year, after three collapsed due to ocean swells and scattered dangerous construction debris for miles inside Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Two collapsed in May and one in February, McClatchy News reports.
The National Park Service expects the threat to the Rodanthe area will ease early next week, officials said.
This story was originally published September 9, 2022 2:21 PM.
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