‘Like a bomb has gone off:’ Volusia County faces disastrous beach erosion, more building collapses after Nicole

Sheriff Mike Chitwood says up to 16 condos evacuated in Daytona Beach Shores

Volusia County beach front home damaged by Nicole (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – As first reported by ClickOrlando.com, several buildings have collapsed along the east coast of Florida due to Hurricane Nicole, which brought with it intense winds and waves.

Volusia County officials are continuing to evacuate at-risk buildings in Daytona Beach Shores as impacts from Nicole continue to surface. Nicole made landfall south of Vero Beach as a Category 1 hurricane before weakening into a tropical storm.

“It is like a bomb has gone off on the peninsula up here on the oceanside,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told News 6. “The Shores is probably up to about 16 condos that have been evacuated. There are pool decks, the back of buildings in the ocean.”

The sheriff said the county is working with other cities in the area to pool together resources of building inspectors and engineers to “visit every structure from the Shores all the way down to Ponce Inlet.”

Seven homes collapsed in Wilbur-by-the-Sea after the tropical storm took a large chunk of the coastline.

“What I’m asking people is to stay the hell off of the peninsula, unless you live here. The bridges are closed except to essential personnel and to emergency personnel. There’s a curfew up here on the peninsula ‘til 7 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Chitwood said. “You got to let us do our job, we’re trying to lock down A1A, there are buildings that they may go down, they may go down.”

A man who lives in the area said he witnessed a house tumble into the ocean.

“We were just standing on beach and a big section of the wall fell over, hit the support beam and it fell in the water. It was pretty frightening,” he said. “We were just checking on our neighbors. It almost doesn’t seem real to see all this, even though you know it’s a possibility living here.”

The sheriff said as the tides recede and winds die down, the effects of the hurricane are being seen.

“This isn’t over. This isn’t a one-day event. This is going to go on for days and days and days where buildings are going to become compromised, and big parts of them are gonna fall into the ocean,” he said.

Chitwood said Hurricane Ian softened the county’s infrastructure and “there way no way we could have gotten back in time” before Nicole came through.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.