Division of Emergency Management assessing damage from Nicole in Daytona Beach Shores

Sanibel Condominium, Sherwin Condominium, Holiday Inn Express deemed safe for residents to return

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. – City leaders in Daytona Beach Shores discussed the latest on Hurricane Nicole’s impact on the coastal community in a meeting Tuesday night.

As two more of the high-rise buildings on the beach have been cleared for residents to return, there is still much that needs to be done to repair and rebuild.

Florida’s Division of Emergency Management gave News 6 an up-close look at some of the work at the Hawaiian Inn to stabilize the structure. The agency has people across Volusia County assessing the damage and seeing what support they can provide.

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“The sea wall had a catastrophic failure,” said Deputy Director and SERT Chief Jimmy Bujeda. “The erosion has gone all the way underneath the building.

Bujeda said the destruction from Nicole is different, because of back-to-back hurricanes that hit the state.

“The first one did some erosion. The second one the waves came through, and more erosion, which just raked out a lot of the beach and the dunes into the ocean,” Bujeda said.

Bujeda said the entire shoreline has suffered damage in one way or another.

“Either catastrophic failure of the sea wall, partial damage of the sea walls, or the ones that did not have sea walls the beach has eroded somewhere between 5 and 40 feet of the dune line.”

FDEM hopes its partnership with local and federal agencies will help speed up the process to stabilize and help rebuild.

“We have systems we have that we can bring out here and start getting buffers in place from the water line and shoreline to help the community start recovering, start cleaning up, start rebuilding,” Bujeda said. “We’re ending hurricane season, but we’re starting other seasons. You know, a nor’easter that comes through can do just as much damage.”

Much of what is being done by the state now is assessments, which will lead to more action.

“Unfortunately, some of these home and vacation places now have to be under repair or we don’t know the status of how long it’s going to take to repair them,” Bujeda said.

Tuesday, the city of Daytona Beach Shores said the Sanibel Condominium, Sherwin Condominium, and Holiday Inn Express were deemed safe for residents to return after an engineering assessment.

“I’m relieved,” Kelly McCulloch said.

McCulloch has lived at the Sanibel condos for 9 years. News 6 spoke to her as she returned to the building Tuesday afternoon.

“I actually live in the front of the building, so for me, you can’t really tell there’s anything wrong,” McCulloch said. “We knew we were going to have to rebuild it anyway, but it was pretty devastating to watch it.”

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Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.