Home collapses into the sea as Tropical Storm Nicole erodes Florida coastline

Nicole made landfall as a hurricane just south of Vero Beach, Florida Thursday morning and its pounding surf has led to the demise of some beachfront homes.

WILBUR-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. – Part of a Florida home fell into the sea on Thursday as Tropical Storm Nicole continued to pound the eastern shoreline of the Sunshine State.

FOX Weather meteorologist Katie Garner was standing 10 feet away from the home when it collapsed.

"All I heard when I was over there about to film an Instagram video was the gutter kind of shudder a little bit," Garner described. "And then, the house just fell and hit the ground. It was not like a huge collision. It was just kind of jarring."

The home is located in the community of Wilbur-By-The-Sea, which sits just south of Daytona Beach.

Erosion caused by relentless waves from Nicole quickly dissolved the seaside foundation of the home, fracturing the walls and roof, and eventually leading part of the home to collapse into the sea.

Garner also spoke with a young man named Christian, who witnessed the house collapsing.

"[I] just started feeling this kind of energy," he said. "And all of a sudden the ground kind of had a little rumble."


Raised in Wilbur-By-The-Sea, Christian noted that many residents have lived in the community for generations and haven't faced this level of devastation.

"Now they're experiencing things they've never seen in their life," he said.

The Daytona Beach area has experienced widespread erosion due to Nicole, leading to the evacuation of several condominiums and houses now deemed structurally unsound.

Many other Volusia County houses are now within a few feet or mere inches from the Atlantic Ocean. Some, like the home in Wilbur-By-The-Sea, have also fallen into the sea.

"The structural damage along our coastline is unprecedented," said George Recktenwald, Volusia County Manager. "We have never experienced anything like this before, so we ask for your patience as we make our assessments. As always, the safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority. This is going to be a long road to recovery."

County and municipal building inspectors have declared 24 hotels and condos to be unsafe and have ordered their evacuation. Ten of those structures have between 10 and 22 stories.

While Nicole has now weakened into a tropical storm, impacts such as coastal flooding, beach erosion, heavy rain, gusty winds and tornadoes will continue to spread across Florida, the Southeast and up the Eastern Seaboard through Friday.

A Tornado Watch was in effect Thursday for areas of northeast Florida, coastal Georgia and southeast South Carolina.