‘We didn’t think it would be this bad’: Beachfront homes in small communities in Florida washed up by Hurricane Nicole | CNN

CNN — Trip Valigorsky’s beachfront home in a close community in Volusia County, Florida has been with the family for nearly 15 years as dangerous storm surges and strong winds swept across Florida from Hurricane Nicole. “This house was her grandmother’s favorite,” Valigorsky told CNN. “She had her best memories with her here.” Valigorksy is one of many residents of the Wilbur-By-The-Sea beachfront area whose homes were damaged or destroyed by storms. In Volusia County, at least 49 beachfront properties, including hotels and condos, were considered “unsafe” in the aftermath of Nicole. It eventually becomes a tropical cyclone on Friday afternoon. The county’s video shows houses collapsing and turning to rubble as Nicole’s waves erode the shoreline. A separate video shows the county’s beach safety office collapsing in rising water. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea levels in this area of ​​Florida have risen more than a foot in the past 100 years, with most of that rise occurring in the past 30 years. Scientists and researchers have long warned that sea level rise leads to more erosion and high tide flooding, especially during extreme coastal storms. This put more stress on the breakwater to protect coastal communities from high waves and water levels, much of which was destroyed by storm surge this week. He said one of the breakwaters built on Tuesday by Baligorsky and his neighbors to protect their property from damage had collapsed into the sea by Wednesday. “I’m stressed because I’m afraid I’m going to fall, and here I am,” Valigorsky said. On Wednesday morning, Valigorsky watched the storm intensify and decided to evacuate his essentials and dog from the house. By the time he returned, only the garage and porch remained in his house. As his community begins rebuilding neighborhoods in the aftermath of Nicole, Valigorsky said he, too, plans to rebuild the house with his homeless neighbor. Another resident, Phil Martin, lost his entire home to a hurricane this week. “I have witnessed the most destructive sight,” Martin said. “We didn’t think it would be that bad.” Martin has lived in the area for two years and said the house is his permanent residence, where he spends time with his children and grandchildren, plays soccer in the backyard or walks to the beach. “There’s no politics on the beach, everyone gets along,” Martin said, adding that his community and those surrounding Wilbur-By-The-Sea keep his spirit high. “Everything went very quickly with this product,” he said. “But we will rebuild. We have this.” Just six weeks ago, a storm surge from Hurricane Ian eroded parts of Florida’s east coast, hitting the area where a breakwater was built behind Martin’s house and his neighborhood. Now he said the breakwater was gone. The continuous nature of the storm is making the already aging breakwater more vulnerable, Brian McNoldy, a senior research fellow at the University of Miami School of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, told CNN previously. “We don’t need strong storms,” he said. A high tide or a stormy tidal wave can wash it out or put extra stress on the wall.” “Since these two storms are six weeks apart, each one will definitely leave a mark if you don’t give it time to repair or replenish.” “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Arlisa Payne, who has lived in the beach community for most of her life, told CNN affiliate Spectrum News 13 after assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Nicole. Her home has survived the storm, but Payne is concerned that the breakwater in front of her house is in danger of collapsing, she said. The mother of four said many homes in her neighborhood were not damaged by Hurricane Ian, but were hit hard by Nicole, making it difficult for the community to prepare for such storms, she said. “I think this has offended a lot of people,” she said. “How do you prepare this? People cannot prepare for it.”

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