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Brightly colored poles have been placed at 27 locations around the Outer Banks, from the Town of Duck to Hatteras Village, including at beach and sound access points, town halls and the ferry terminal to warn people of storm surge.

Rick Luettich, the head of UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, said climate change has raised sea levels and made the water warmer, making flooding more prevalent and allowing hurricanes to form and strengthen faster.

“What tends to cause the most damage, the most loss of life, and the hardest to recover from is the water,” Luettich said.