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After Florence, barrier islands, yet condemned by the rising sea level

NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, N. C. Even in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the low-lying barrier islands off the coast of North and South Carolina, not out of the danger zone.

The islands are experiencing some of the fastest rates of sea-level rise anywhere in the world. But that hasn’t stopped developers and enthusiastic home buyers to invest in property on the beach.

The speed of the increase is expected to accelerate as the oceans warm sea water expands, currents weaken and the polar ice caps melting. By the end of the century, it is an increase of more than 6 metres, enough to wash over parts of the islands with each high water.

The taxpayer will probably be much of the bill for lost homes. Coast-property owners in low-lying areas typically rely on federal flood insurance.

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