Fort Lauderdale: Severe flooding in Broward County facing record rainfall



CNN

Fort Lauderdale experienced its wettest day in its history on Wednesday — a 1 in 1,000-year event — triggering a flash flood emergency in Broward County that prompted emergency rescues, forced drivers to abandon cars, closed schools and Airport closed to 5 a.m. on Friday. And rain is on the way.

More than a foot of rain fell widely across the region, while Fort Lauderdale saw 25.91 inches in 24 hours, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service office in Miami.

Although Thursday’s rain will not reach the level of Wednesday’s, it will be problematic and create additional flooding, the National Weather Service said. Strong winds, small hail and even isolated tornadoes are possible.

A flash flood warning is in effect for parts of Broward County until noon Thursday. A flood watch is in effect until Thursday evening.

According to a Thursday morning update from the National Weather Service office in Miami, 14 to 20 inches of rain has soaked the greater Fort Lauderdale metro area since Wednesday afternoon. “The worst flood I’ve ever seen,” said one mayor.

“This amount of rain in 24 hours is incredibly rare in South Florida,” said meteorologist Ana Torres-Vasquez from the Weather Service’s Miami forecast office.

The 20 to 25 inches of rainfall is similar to what the area could receive from a high-level hurricane over one day, Torres-Vazquez explained. He described the rainfall as “a 1 in 1,000 year event or more”. Meaning This is a very serious event, with a mere 0.1% chance of occurring in any given year.

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During the peak of the deluge on Wednesday, a month’s worth of rain fell in an hour. Fort Lauderdale’s average April rainfall is 3 inches and the city has seen 20 inches of rain in nearly 25 years.

Cars are parked on a flooded street in Tania Beach, Florida, Wednesday.

More precipitation is a signature result of a warming climate, and it’s happening more often. The flooding in South Florida is the latest after last year’s 1 in 1,000-year rainfall hit areas including Dallas, St. Louis, eastern Kentucky and Yellowstone.

“Although the heavy rains have ended, many roads remain closed,” the weather service said, adding that flooding is expected to continue.

Earlier, There was Fort Lauderdale “Several areas of the city are experiencing severe flooding,” Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue said on social media, warning vehicles to stay off roadways as they could become trapped or drown.

A Flash flood emergency – A flood warning in effect for parts of South Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, expired early Thursday morning.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was closed Thursday due to heavy rain.

City groups in Hollywood, In Florida, Mayor Josh Levy told CNN they are “doing everything they can” to line up pumps wherever they can and keep drains clear.

“We’ve recorded 12 inches of rain since midnight, on top of days of non-stop rain,” Levy said. “The ground is already saturated, so there is extensive flooding in our city and across South Florida. Many roads are impassable. Numerous vehicles are stranded and abandoned in the middle of the road.

“I’ve lived here all my life. This is the worst flood I’ve ever seen,” he said.

With rain and strong storms forecast for Thursday, South Florida could be inundated with even more rain.

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“After a historic day of rain in parts of South Florida that many of us won’t soon forget, today is another wet day ahead,” Miami Weather Service said.

Parts of Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Jacksonville, have a Category 2 out of 5 slight risk of severe storms Thursday, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

In Fort Lauderdale, airboats and high-clearance floats have been secured from the county sheriff’s office and Florida Wildlife Commission as officials activate their emergency operations center and issue a local emergency declaration, they said in a statement early Thursday.

Fort Lauderdale city officials said emergency crews continued to work through the night responding to rescue calls across South Florida.

“City Hall is closed. The ground floor is flooded and staff are working to restore power to the building,” he said on a Thursday morning Upgrade.

“Flood conditions are affecting the southern parts of the city this morning,” officials said, urging residents to be patient.

“We expect the flooding to recede in the next few hours and we have seen improvement in some parts of the city.”

It is not known how many people were rescued from the flood.

Officials asked residents to avoid driving or traveling in Fort Lauderdale Amidst the storms.

“Public works workers are clearing drains and running pumps to reduce the water as quickly as possible. Efforts have been made to reduce traffic congestion with priority signaling to help people leaving the city. Drivers are asked to stay off the roads and avoid downtown Fort Lauderdale until the water recedes. City of Fort Lauderdale said in a press release on Wednesday evening.

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The Florida Highway Patrol has closed several exits on Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale, according to the city’s fire department.

Drivers battled standing water on Fort Lauderdale roads Thursday morning.

In Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, officials are working on two water main breaks, According to to the Coral Gables Police Department.

Some roads in the city are closed due to flooding and others have limited travel, forcing residents to allow extra time to get to work, police said.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday that it has been “inundated with non-emergency 911 calls related to severe weather” and is urging residents to use 911 only for “true emergencies” and to avoid driving and call a tow truck. Company if a vehicle is stranded and not in an emergency.

Some local services are closed on Thursday. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is closed due to flooding and will reopen at noon. According to an update From the airport. The departures level of the airport was reopened to allow people to leave the area, the said The airport initially said Thursday morning.

Brightline train service between Miami and Fort Lauderdale has been temporarily suspended. Service said On social media.

Additionally, the Broward County Public Schools district announced it will be closed Thursday.

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