This past week, I drove much of the east coast of Florida with my family. It was pretty shocking how much damage Nicole did to the entire coastline from Broward to St Johns Counties. Many of the important beachside natural areas from Flagler down to St Lucie Counties remain partially or completely closed due to Nicole. Public beaches are generally not open from Flagler down to Indian River counties, though some folks, that I observed jumped barricades to test the surf.
Using the naked eye, I could see significant damage and beach erosion as a result of the storm. I wish I had before and after pictures, but I am sure many of the local papers on the east coast have done this work already.
So while Nicole didn’t do the damage to life and property that Hurricane Ian did about six weeks earlier, the damage to beaches and tourism could be dramatic.
It’s important we remember Nicole and its impact as we move forward and prepare for another Hurricane season in a few months – it’s not just the catastrophic life-altering events like Ian that damage the state, but even relatively minor Cat 1 storms like Nicole.