Speed Reads

wild weather

Tropical Storm Nicole sends Florida beachfront houses toppling into the ocean

Heavy rain and storm surge from Tropical Storm Nicole caused several houses and buildings to collapse into the Atlantic Ocean Thursday in Wilbur-By-The-Sea, Daytona Beach Shores, and other barrier island communities in Florida.

Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach early Thursday morning as a Category 1 hurricane. It was the first November hurricane to make landfall in the state in 37 years, The Associated Press reports, and just the third on record.

There are dozens of buildings in Volusia County that are now considered structurally unsafe due to damage sustained in the storm, with county manager George Recktenwald saying during a news conference that the "structural damage along our coastline is unprecedented. We've never experienced anything like this before." He added that it's unclear when evacuated residents will be able to return to their homes.

Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University, told AP the storm surge from Nicole was more destructive than it might have been in years past due to rising seas caused by climate change. In Florida, coastal flooding is higher and going deeper inland, and this is "going to happen elsewhere," Oppenheimer said. "It's going to happen all across the world."

This comes more than a month after Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Ian, with more than 130 deaths reported and entire Gulf Coast neighborhoods wiped out. So far, police say Nicole has led to the deaths of two people in the Orlando area, who were electrocuted after touching downed power lines.