VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Close to 48 hours since Nicole made landfall in Florida, those in the hardest hit areas are still recovering.
Volusia County has reported close to 50 buildings evacuated due to them being unsafe. Areas to the north are waiting for water, which was brought on by 70 mph wind gusts, to recede.
A community of oceanfront views has been reduced to rubble and debris.
Nicole’s strong winds and storm surge caused sand and waves to crash along the coast. It took with it the foundations of homes, sea walls, and belonging of those who have called Wilbur by the Sea, home.
“It put things in perspective certainly,” shares one homeowner in Volusia County. “It makes you appreciate intangible things like your family, your children.”
Volusia County Emergency Management shared on Friday that all bridges to the beachside are back open, except Wilbur by the Sea and Daytona Beach Shores.
Those areas are where officials deemed 49 beachfront properties as unsafe. On Friday, 24 hotels and condos were evacuated in Daytona Beach Shores, and 25 single-family homes in Wilbur by the Sea were deemed structurally unsafe.
“It’s really heartbreaking to see a lot of those places on that beachside just getting demolished and hammered,” shares Jessica Stern.
Stern lived in Volusia County for 15 years but has called St. Augustine home for years now. She’s the owner of Carrera Wine Cellar off San Marco Avenue.
The sights she sees outside of her work are cars underwater. And by the sea wall, her son and dog can be seen running through what now looks like a mini lake, which was once the street.
It is miles of water that have not dissipated thanks to a nor’easter, Nicole, and king tides, all relentlessly pushing water onto their shoreline.
“They seem to be, each season, getting more powerful,” shares Stern. “It seems like the last two storms have definitely put this town underwater.”
But through the rubble and waves there is hope. Volusia County Sheriffs Office showed a video on their Facebook of the community coming together to help one Wilbur by the Sea homeowner named Ms. Nina.
And with that strengthened spirit, the hope is that slowly, the areas affected can restore what Nicole washed away.
Volusia County Emergency Management has released a new directive in light of the state of emergency for Nicole. It allows certain residents with properties on the beach to be able to access their homes, so they can assess any possible damage or erosion.
The county has provided certain times and locations to be able to access the beach. They also temporarily waived their need for proof of a beaches and dunes permit.
This directive will expire on Tuesday. For more information, visit here.