Monte Rio man loses family vacation home in North Carolina storm

Ralph Patricelli is familiar with the horror and devastation captured in a viral video circulating on YouTube of the May 10 watery collapse of a beachfront home as it is hammered by a powerful storm along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The beach house in the video was the third to fall and it belonged to his neighbor. Patricelli’s nearby holiday home collapsed in the Atlantic a day earlier.

“The house was unrecognizable,” Patricelli, a real estate agent who lives in Monte Rio, said of his former vacation home in Rodanthe, North Carolina, which he bought just nine months ago. “I thought the property manager sent me pictures of someone else’s house that had collapsed. It took me a while to digest that it was mine. I couldn’t believe it .

His homes and those of his neighbors along Ocean Drive in Cape Hatteras were torn down after withstanding days of pounding by a coastal storm that reportedly triggered tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma, and flooding in southern areas and Mid-Atlantic earlier this month, Tthe washington post reported.

Patricelli said photos of his destroyed two-story house showed its debris had been strewn along the coast.

He suspects his house collapsed sometime in the early hours of May 9. Then the next day, his neighbour’s house, which was filmed around 1 p.m., collapsed.

Sea level rise attributed to climate change has significantly damaged at least four of the 12 homes on Ocean Drive, he said. As a result, he and his neighbors are using an ongoing chat thread to discuss their concerns and keep each other informed amid the ongoing storms in the area.

In the summer of 2021, Patricelli and his sister bought the two-story vacation home, built in 1985, hoping it would become a central getaway spot where their families — after months of pandemic isolation — could come together.

They tried to meet there for Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, he said, but couldn’t as storms continued to damage the home’s septic system.

“After the second time (the septic tank was damaged), we decided to move the house further (on the beach), but the storm took the house before we could even move it,” he said. declared.

So far this year, three homes along Ocean Drive have been destroyed. The first house collapsed on February 9. Its debris spread up to 15 miles, The Washington Post reported.

Turning 58 on Tuesday, Patricelli said he would have liked to spend his birthday at his North Carolina home with his family.

He said he continues to work with his insurance and hopes to rebuild the house in a location farther from the ocean.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he added, noting that the impact of climate change is happening everywhere. “There are problems no matter where you live. (In North Bay) you make a fire, then put it out — then you have another fire. (East) Storms are doing more damage than they have ever done before.

You can reach editor Mya Constantino at [email protected] @searchingformya on Twitter.

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