FL - 1 year after Tropical Storm Nicole, coastal residents in Daytona Beach area still struggle
One year after Tropical Storm Nicole delivered the second haymaker in a one-two punch that left behind widespread damage along the Volusia-Flagler coastline, evidence of the storm’s devastating impact remains along a hard-hit stretch of South Atlantic Avenue in Wilbur-by-the-Sea.
Along the beach, huge chunks of homes in the 4100 block remain ripped away, with sofas dangling precariously over treacherous cliffs left behind after foundations were washed away by the storm.
On the street side, notices proclaiming the properties unsafe to occupy are posted on front doors, along with a notice of an upcoming public hearing by the Volusia County Licensing and Construction Appeals Board on Nov. 13 that could result in a demolition order for properties unable to be repaired.
Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach as a Category 1 hurricane early on Nov. 10, 2022. Thanks to Ian, Volusia County's coastline defenses were already weakened. Images of homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea sliding off their foundations made national news.
Some homeowners and hoteliers got off relatively easy while others, frustrated by bureaucratic delays, fights with insurance companies and permitting logjams, are still struggling.
"Residents in each community impacted by Hurricane Nicole are still recovering in some respects," said Volusia County Emergency Services Director Jim Judge. "Property owners along the coast are at varying degrees of the recovery process, with some completely restored while others may have yet to begin."
In Flagler, Nicole also battered the coast
Flagler County's coastline also was ravaged by Nicole.
Tropical Storm Ian weakened the county's dune system, which protects properties and infrastructure such as roads and power lines, Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said. Then Nicole arrived a little over a month later and further chipped away at them.
"But it did so on an already weakened dune system, so that caused, you know, a couple of breakthroughs. It caused damage to seawalls and properties. It caused A1A to collapse for the second time (since Ian)," Lord said.
Flagler County saw flooding from the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, he said.
Some of the hardest hit areas were around The Hammock, Washington Oaks, Beverly Beach, and parts of Flagler Beach, Lord said.
But long-term repairs are ahead.
The Flagler Beach pier has been battered over the years and is scheduled for replacement, Lord said. Dune restoration projects are ongoing. Part of the county's coastline will be strengthened through a U.S. Army Corps beach re-nourishment project in Flagler Beach.