The town of Nags Head, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is known for its beaches. But erosion from storms and sea level rise has been taking a toll, and beachside homes are suffering the consequences. Photo slideshow by The Weather Channel

Photo slideshow by Alex Wroblewski of The Weather Channel

The town of Nags Head, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is known for its beaches. But erosion from storms and sea level rise has been taking a toll, and beachside homes are suffering the consequences. 

The high tide line has been inching deeper into the island over the years, eroding the shoreline in a community built on ocean tourism. Houses on East Seagull Drive now have beachfront property after most of the row in front of them was demolished.

The high tide line has been inching deeper into the island over the years, eroding the shoreline in a community built on ocean tourism. Houses on East Seagull Drive now have beachfront property after most of the row in front of them was demolished.

Matthew Toloczko’s salmon-colored cottage sits two stories up on stilts, halfway between the dunes and the water. It could be habitable, but its septic system is now well above ground and Toloczko can’t get a permit to bury it.

Matthew Toloczko’s salmon-colored cottage sits two stories up on stilts, halfway between the dunes and the water. It could be habitable, but its septic system is now well above ground and Toloczko can’t get a permit to bury it.

Lance Goldner’s boarded up cottage is one of two homes left from a row of 10 that once stood on the ocean side of East Seagull Drive. The others were demolished, with six of them requiring a $1.5 million buy-out from the town.

Lance Goldner’s boarded up cottage is one of two homes left from a row of 10 that once stood on the ocean side of East Seagull Drive. The others were demolished, with six of them requiring a $1.5 million buy-out from the town. Goldner says he could recoup more of his investment from insurance if the house collapsed than what the town has offered.

Beachcombers can walk under Goldner’s boarded up cottage, which sits high above the water on stilts. Some have left graffiti. Even on calm days, however, high tides slosh among the home’s pilings.

Beachcombers can walk under Goldner’s boarded up cottage, which sits high above the water on stilts. Some have left graffiti. Even on calm days, however, high tides slosh among the home’s pilings.

Insulation is coming out the bottom of Goldner’s uninhabited cottage. The windows have been boarded up, and like his neighbor, Goldner is unable to connect his septic system, which is now above ground.

Insulation is coming out the bottom of Goldner’s uninhabited cottage. The windows have been boarded up, and like his neighbor, Goldner is unable to connect his septic system, which is now above ground.

Nags Head has invested in beach nourishment, building up the beaches every few years to protect neighborhoods and the town’s tourism-based economy. The town spent $36 million on beach nourishment in 2011 and is planning to spend $48 million more in 2018.

Nags Head has invested in beach nourishment, building up the beaches every few years to protect neighborhoods and the town’s tourism-based economy. The town spent $36 million on beach nourishment in 2011 and is planning to spend as much as $48 million more in 2018.

After repairing the one-block road after every major storm, Nags Head officials voted last year to abandon East Seagull Drive. Homeowners now maintain it as a private road.

After repairing the one-block road after every major storm, Nags Head officials voted last year to abandon East Seagull Drive. Homeowners now maintain it as a private road.

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