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20 NC coastal communities could be flooded by sea water in 15 years, new report says

Whose job is it to save North Topsail Beach?

The Atlantic Ocean is eroding parts of North Topsail Beach by about five feet per year. The town of 800 residents is running out of cash and solutions in its efforts to protect its north shore. Whose job is to save this popular North Carolina tour
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The Atlantic Ocean is eroding parts of North Topsail Beach by about five feet per year. The town of 800 residents is running out of cash and solutions in its efforts to protect its north shore. Whose job is to save this popular North Carolina tour

As many as 20 North Carolina communities could be submerged by sea water in the next 15 years, according to a new report on sea level rise.

The report, “When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of U.S. Coastal Communities,” analyzes three projected scenarios of when towns and cities along U.S. coasts can expect to see the ocean rise enough to disrupt daily life.

The report was created by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a U.S. nonprofit science advocacy group founded in 1969 by faculty and students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The data in the report reflect three sea level rise scenarios: low, intermediate and high, based on predicted carbon emissions through the end of the century.

Thirteen coastal communities in North Carolina will be more than 10 percent flooded at least 26 times per year by 2035 in the “intermediate” scenario, according to the report. That number increases to 20 communities by 2030 and 40 by 2060 in the “high” scenario.

The potentially affected communities are: Alligator, Columbia, Croatan, East Lake, Fairfield, Fruitville, Gum Neck, Lake Landing, Lake Mattamuskeet, Ocracoke, Pamlico/District 4 (includes Bayboro, Mesic, Vandemere and Hobucken), Portsmouth, Swan Quarter, Cedar Island, Crawford, Currituck, Harker’s Island, Hatteras, Kinnakeet, Marshallberg, Ocracoke, Salem, Scuppernong (Tyrell County), Sea Level, Shiloh and Stacy.

National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration forecasters said the Atlantic Ocean's 2017 hurricane season will likely be above normal, with 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major storms.

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