Florida county puts damage from Nicole at $481 million

A bed and chairs are seen inside a home that half collapsed after the sand supporting it was swept away, following the passage of Hurricane Nicole, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Wilbur-By-The-Sea, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
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Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. (AP) — Damages are estimated at more than $481 million in a central Florida coastal county where homes collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean following Hurricane Nicole last week.

The damages from the category 1 storm in Volusia County, home to Daytona Beach, exceeded those from the much stronger Hurricane Ian, which caused $377 million in the county, officials said. Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm, made landfall in southwest Florida in late September and tore across the state.

Moody’s Investors Service estimated insured losses from Ian at between $40 billion and $70 billion in Florida and North Carolina.

Severe beach erosion from Ian made homes vulnerable to the impact of Nicole in Wilbur-by-the Sea, a quaint beach community where single-family homes fell into the ocean last week. Volusia County officials said that at least 30 single-family homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea and seven single-family homes in nearby Ponce Inlet have been deemed unsafe following Hurricane Nicole.

In Daytona Beach Shores and New Smyrna Beach, two dozen multistory condo buildings have been evacuated and deemed unsafe by building inspectors.

Daytona Beach Shore by far had the most property damage in the county, estimated at $370.3 million, according to the Volusia County Property Appraiser. It was followed by New Smyrna Beach at $51.1 million and Daytona Beach at $50 million.

The property appraiser’s office warned that those figures would likely rise as more buildings are inspected.

For storm-weary Floridians, Nicole was the first November hurricane to hit their shores since 1985 and only the third since record-keeping began in 1853.

The storm was blamed for five deaths in Florida. A man and a woman were killed by electrocution when they touched downed power lines in the Orlando area. Also in Orange County, one man died in a vehicle crash, and a male pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle because of poor road conditions. Another man died as waves battered his yacht against a dock in Cocoa, despite efforts to resuscitate him by paramedics who managed to get on board as the boat broke away from its moorings.