Florida state leaders begin surveying property damage from Hurricane Nicole

Private meeting with homeowners starts process of rebuilding

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Florida’s Director of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie joined Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday to survey property damage with homeowners along Wilbur by the Sea, where several homes collapsed due to the arrival of Hurricane Nicole.

The post-Nicole storm erosion created a domino effect for homes that have crumbled into the Atlantic Ocean along Florida’s east coast.

[TRENDING: Drone video shows crumbling beachside Florida homes devastated by Nicole | Hurricane Nicole unearths skeletal remains on Florida beach | Become a News 6 Insider]

“Obviously, there are areas that are catastrophic,” Guthrie told News 6. “We really want to focus on the homeowner and business owner level.”

DeSantis, Guthrie and other administration officials walked properties with a homeowner as she pointed out the damage left by Nicole.

Prior to the Friday visit to Volusia County, Guthrie told News 6 he will need to determine whether the area will be eligible for financial assistance from FEMA.

“Monday morning, it looks like we’re going to do what we refer to as joint preliminary damage assessments,” Guthrie said. “That’s actually the recovery process, not the response process.”

Guthrie said FEMA, state and U.S. Army Corp engineer teams are on the ground in Volusia, Brevard and Flagler Counties, gathering information.

Guthrie told News 6 that engineers will be brought in to determine structural damage and risks to the properties impacted by the storm.

“That’s something we will do on Monday and Tuesday,” he said. “An individual assistance claim damage assessments to see if (Florida is) eligible for an individual assistance claim.”

No preliminary damage reports for Volusia and Brevard have been issued yet. However, Flagler County, alongside the Property Appraiser’s Office, furnished the state of Florida with its initial damage assessment reports from Hurricane Nicole in the amount of $23.7 million.

No homes were destroyed, county officials said. There were 299 homes affected. Another 125 sustained minor damage, and 20 had major damage. Some 218 homes were flooded.

The county indicated the numbers will likely change.

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News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.