Nicole's dangerous storm surge washes away homes, roads, boardwalks along Florida coast

Even before Nicole made landfall early Thursday, huge waves combined with wind and the high tide quickly washed away seawalls and roads from South Florida and north to St. Augustine.

FOX Weather's live coverage of Tropical Storm Nicole continues Thursday as it moves inland across Florida. Follow the FOX Weather Wire for the latest information.

Florida's east coast beach communities were battered by Nicole's storm surge and angry waves long before the storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Vero Beach.

Nicole's massive footprint meant beaches in Florida started getting slammed by 15-foot waves Wednesday, creating hazardous conditions for coastal communities. 

The powerful waves eroded the beaches, causing many homes to lose their foundations and teeter on the edge of losing everything. 


The absence of critical structural support led to decks, pools and entire rooms to fracture from the main home and collapse into the sea. Beds and closets full of clothes became exposed as the walls that once shielded them came crashing down.

In the video below, a palm tree can be seen plummeting toward the water as the soil that held it in place had washed away.

Roads weren't safe from Nicole's wrath, either. 

Even before Nicole made landfall early Thursday, huge waves combined with wind and the high tide quickly caused problems for seawalls and roads from South Florida and north to St. Augustine.

Parts of Jacksonville were also affected, as rising waters flooded coastal properties and downed trees. 

Further south the coastline, roads in the town of Marineland turned into rivers as rising waters rushed in from the ocean. The video below shows mailboxes peeking above floodwaters that were coursing through the neighborhood streets.

Half a dozen buildings in Daytona Beach Shores were evacuated due to structural concerns because of beach erosion. 

A condo building in Volusia County's New Smyrna Beach facing the ocean was also deemed unsafe due to seawall erosion, and residents were told to evacuate, according to New Smyrna Beach police.

Volusia County sheriff's deputies went door-to-door Wednesday evening, warning residents that their buildings may collapse at any moment. On Thursday, Volusia County officials declared 24 hotels and condos to be unsafe and ordered their evacuation. Ten of those structures have between 10 and 22 stories.

Areas along State Road A1A in several Florida counties were flooded when waves eroded seawalls. Nicole's ferocious waves washed entire chunks of A1A in Flagler County away by Thursday morning.

Florida Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie told FOX Weather many properties along the coastline in Flagler and Volusia counties were at risk of collapse.

On Wednesday, a full day before Nicole's landfall, residents watched in Port Orange as rough surf and storm surge washed their yards into the Atlantic Ocean.

FOX Weather Meteorologist Katie Garner was near an oceanfront home in Wilber-By-The-Sea on Thursday that collapsed into the ocean.

A popular boardwalk in Vero Beach suffered severe structural damage, a pattern for beachfront infrastructure along the already battered coast of Florida.

Both the Flagler Beach Pier and the Daytona Beach Boardwalk were already vulnerable due to erosion from Hurricane Ian in September and continued to be pounded by Nicole's furious waves.

Nicole is forecast to move northwest across the Florida peninsula before taking aim at southern Georgia and the Carolinas later this weekend.