What’s it like to stand by as your house is ripped from its foundations and hoisted six feet in the air? “It’s a dream come true,” says Sue Graf, who owns a getaway cottage in Gloucester County, Virginia. “It’s surreal. It’s exciting,” she says. “This is the eighth summer of worrying about flooding with all the storms. We finally don’t have to worry about that any more.” So we rigged the house with cameras for the event. Watch above as Expert House Movers—a company that has been raising houses with the help of FEMA grants for about four years—excavate Sue’s house, and elevate it onto a new foundation.
In Part Two, below, watch ?Mother Jones reporter Kate Sheppard explain why this historic stretch of the Virginia coastline, some of the first areas in America to be settled by Europeans, is so susceptible to sea level rise. “It’s becoming very real here,” says Skip Stiles, the executive director of Wetlands Watch. “If you want to see what’s going to happen to your East coast city, come here, because we’re getting it now. This is America’s coastal future here.”