Isn't this a beautiful picture? It's a barrier island.
Barrier islands exist in many, many places where the ocean meets the land. Some barrier islands, like Assateague (pictured) function exactly as the Flying Spaghetti Monster intended: They buffer the mainland from the ocean's wrath.
The vast majority of barrier islands serve another purpose. This, too, is a barrier island, perhaps only 150 miles north of Assateague. Looks like a fun place to hang, yes?
Bamp. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
With ever-increasing fury, the bored god Hurracan, sacred to the native peoples of Mesoamerica, is venting his rage on those who live upon barrier islands.
Ocean front real estate? BAMP! Why would you pay top dollar just so Hurracan can come tear you to shreds? He's not a nice deity. And this global climate change has really riled him up extra-nasty.
You might think that if you live in northern climes you're safer in that condo on the barrier island. Sorry, nope. One of these days Hurracan is gonna get his whole back up and come roaring toward the Great Blue Northeast with just as much wrath as He vented on New Orleans. You live in the Hamptons? Think twice. (And send me money. I'm broke.)
Now, my dear coastal resident: Go back across that causeway bridge and buy yourself something on higher ground. Leave the barrier islands to the fiddler crabs and the piping plovers, the Spartina and the wild ponies.