The eastern side of this North Carolina resort island is accustomed to seeing beach erosion, but after tide changes and a recent offshore hurricane, the west side is experiencing the same.

Mayor Debbie Smith said some beachfront properties don't have relief plans like those on the east side of the island. Some local homeowners were surprised by areas of significant erosion - in one case, nearly 300 feet of sand dunes was said to have washed away.

Weather experts said Hurricane Noel, which was closest to the coast Nov. 2, and other high winds could have contributed to the erosion. Local officials also blame unusually high tides.

"The only thing that we know that's caused this is some lunar tides," said planning director Justin Whiteside.

Earlier this year, the town paid for beach nourishment to provide temporary relief on the eastern end of the island. The pumped-in sand washed away within a few months.

Mark Bacon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said the top contributors to beach erosion are higher-than-normal tides and large breaking waves.

Home owners Tom and Barbara Myers were surprised during a walk when they saw a house surrounded by yellow caution tape. Contractors were working to secure a wooden walkway threatened by the water, Barbara Myers said.

She said the contractors told her about 280 feet of sand dunes had washed away. The home's owners were given permission to use sandbags near their home for emergency protection.

Barbara Myers said she personally noticed that the view had dramatically changed since she last visited her vacation home this spring. She pointed to an area covered in water near the tip of the peninsula, where Tubbs Inlet meets the ocean.

"It was all sand dunes," she said.