Nicole erodes dunes, damages roads, homes in coastal St. Johns County

Nicole eroded dunes and damaged roads and homes in parts of coastal St. Johns County.

VILANO BEACH, Fla. – Nicole eroded dunes and damaged roads and homes in parts of coastal St. Johns County Thursday.

Part of A1A was washed out on as the storm battered the state of Florida, as were dunes. Some beach walks left damaged at Vilano Beach and Crescent Beach now lead to nowhere. Nicole severely damaged dunes in South Ponte Vedra Beach and left a home teetering on the edge.

Rocky Martin is the head of maintenance at Ocean Sands Beach Inn on A1A in Vilano Beach. He said he is exhausted from clearing the debris.

“I’ve been shoveling all day long, since 5:30 this morning,” he told News4JAX on Friday.

He said he watched as the surf came crashing onshore during high tide Thursday morning.

“There was just one particular wave it was probably 25-30 feet tall. Just once it just took the dunes and just brought it all into our parking lot, and just steady rain for the next two hours,” Martin said.

He said the force of the surge brought pieces of A1A into the center of the road. After temporary fixes, that stretch of A1A reopened Thursday evening.

After Martin finishes clearing the parking lot, his next task is fixing the beach walk.

Further north in South Ponte Vedra Beach, Kim Cuyler was inside her home on the beach as high tide struck Thursday morning. She said that when she woke up, her house was basically in the ocean.

“The waves are splashing on the house, going over the house,” Cuyler said.

Cuyler said she was thinking, “’What do I do?’”

“Then my next-door neighbor’s over here, starts texting and saying, ‘There’s water coming in. We have to leave. We’re flooding. We have to leave.’ And I’m, like, ‘I don’t know if it’s safe to drive,’” Cuyler recounted.

She got an alert to shelter in place, so she went into a windowless room.

“Just sat there, kind of, like, ‘OK, is it going to collapse in? Is it going to float away in the ocean?’” she said.

But within a few minutes, Cuyler said, first responders were at her door.

“It was the fire department and they’re, like, ‘Get out now. Get out now. The ocean, it’s four houses down. It’s coming over,’” Cuyler said.

She got in the car and drove north to her daughter’s house.

The next day, there was a bit of sand inside her house and some siding missing. But the dune outside, she said, is “completely gone.”

“The new dune that we waited five years for, that was put up probably four weeks before Ian,” she explained. “It was probably halfway wiped out in Ian, and now it’s completely gone.”

St. Johns County officials have been assessing the damage from Nicole.

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