Cape Hatteras National Seashore is warning visitors to stay away from a 2-mile stretch of beach in Rodanthe through Friday as Hurricane Fiona passes by offshore, bringing the potential for more oceanfront cottages to collapse in the waves.
Coastal flooding advisories are in effect for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands from midnight Friday through 2 a.m. Saturday and high surf advisories are up for the entire Outer Banks through early Saturday. The National Weather Service says wave heights of 8 to 12 feet are expected, with the potential for ocean overwash flooding and beach erosion. On Thursday afternoon, Fiona was a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph.
In Rodanthe, where three vacation homes collapsed into the ocean between February and May, several more oceanfront houses along the same stretch, from the north end of Rodanthe to South Shore Drive, are vulnerable to the same fate, the National Park Service said in a news release.
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In addition, wires, pipes and septic systems surrounding the homes may become partially or completely exposed as the ocean washes over the beach, the park service said.
Across the Outer Banks, minor flooding is expected around high tides over the next two days, Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said.
Swimmers are advised to stay out of the ocean due to life-threatening rip currents, high surf and dangerous shore break, he said.
“Unfortunately, there may be more houses that collapse onto Seashore beaches in the near future,” said David Hallac, superintendent of National Parks of Eastern North Carolina.