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Hurricane Nicole: 1 year later many homeowners are still recovery from damage

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — It has been one year since Hurricane Nicole devasted parts of Volusia County’s Coast. Wilbur-By-The-Sea saw significant damage, after much of the area suffered severe erosion during Hurricane Ian just six weeks before.

“I think it’s been an exercise in patience for sure,” said resident Diane Cercelius.

Cercelius lost her seawall and most of her backyard but thankfully, her house remained intact.

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Even so, because she had just purchased the property in August of last year and repairs are still underway, her family hasn’t even been able to spend time in the home.

“It was frustrating because at first, Florida said everything was going to be emergency permits and that didn’t go through,” said Cercelius.

Volusia County Emergency Management Director, Clint Mecham, said the county is in the process of helping homeowners with 62 projects from both Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

Looking back: Hurricane Nicole made landfall in Florida one year ago today

“Do we elevate a structure somehow or does the structure need to be demolished and we don’t build on that site?” said Mecham.

Many homeowners are still working through the permit process, while others wait to see if their homes will have to be torn down. We saw several homes with notices on the door for a Nov. 13 meeting with the county’s licensing and construction appeals board that could result in some homes being demolished.

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Damage to homes wasn’t the only issue during the storms, we were there when seawalls, parking lots and pool decks on the back of condos cracked and fell into the ocean. Many of those properties are still without beach access.

Even now, the county is working to help homeowners with grants to rebuild or get reimbursements for work already completed. A program called Transform 386 opens Tuesday for homeowners impacted by Hurricane Ian.

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