Miami Florida is under a Flash Flood Emergency, with the threat considered “catastrophic.”

South Floridians Urged to Stay Indoors as Torrential Rains Cause Life-Threatening Flooding.

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South Floridians were cautioned to remain inside and off the roads Wednesday afternoon as torrential rains hit the area, causing “life-threatening flooding” similar to a deadly storm in April 2023.

The National Weather Service said that between midnight and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 10 to 15 inches of rain fell in Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, and Aventura.

From midnight to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Fort Lauderdale received 8 to 10 inches of rain. The meteorological service predicted that several additional inches of rain might fall overnight.

Broward emergency personnel received several flood-related phone reports, ranging from stuck automobiles to fallen power lines and water flooding businesses and houses. The downpour also caused airline delays and forced the closure of a portion of Interstate 95.

The National Weather Service declared a rare flash flood emergency due to “life-threatening flooding” as heavy rain continued to pour in already-flooded regions. It was canceled at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The last time this alert was issued was in April 2023.

“If you don’t have to travel, please don’t,” National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Garcia said.

On Thursday, “we’re still under threat,” Garcia said. “We might not be out of this heavy pattern for several days more.”

A flood watch remains in force for all of South Florida until Thursday evening. The meteorological service cautioned that periods of widespread showers and thunderstorms with heavy rainfall may increase the risk of localized flash floods.

Radar showed “storm after storm,” with conditions favorable for rain as a weather system moved over the state.

Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, and Dania Beach declared declarations of emergency Wednesday evening, allowing them to obtain state resources, money, and equipment.

Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a state of emergency in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, as well as Collier, Lee, and Sarasota counties on the west coast.

The hazardous weather caused closures and cancellations across South Florida.

Cars stuck; flight delays
Cars were stalled on flooded roads in sections of Broward County, including Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.

Traffic on I-95 was diverted at Oakland Park Boulevard, and commuters re-entered the freeway at Stirling Road.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue has responded to at least a dozen weather-related calls since the rain started about 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to Battalion Chief Michael Kane. As he talked, he continued to get notifications, most of which were concentrated around Dania Beach and Hallandale Beach.

“They’re just pouring in,” Kane said.

As of 2:30 p.m., Kane reported that firefighters were responding to complaints regarding fallen power lines, flooding from the air conditioning system at Crate & Barrel in Dania Beach, and flooding at a multi-family structure.

According to Kane, the ground is so saturated with rainfall from prior days that further rain is soon generating floods.

Several authorities advised drivers not to contact 911 if their automobiles were just stalled and their lives were not in danger.

Meanwhile, flight delays at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport extended hours as various storm systems significantly impeded air traffic.

Although customers were able to fly out of the airport, the average wait time in certain cases was slightly more than 7 hours, according to FAA timing estimates.

However, both runways at the airport remained operational and were handling aircraft on Wednesday, according to airport spokeswoman Arlene Satchell via email. She also said that it was “not accurate” to imply that runway flooding led to flight interruptions.

“The bad weather in our area has triggered a few FAA traffic management initiatives [ground stops, ground delays] for airports in South Florida today, primarily for FLL and [Miami International Airport,]” she said. “Our airport is now in ground delay status for arrivals, according to the FAA. Although there are some flooded sections on the airstrip, both runways are operational and supporting airplane traffic.

As of mid-afternoon, the Fort Lauderdale airport saw 70 flight delays and 144 cancellations, however not all were due to weather. Satchell said at the time that the figures were likely to rise.

Miami International Airport saw 365 delays, 175 cancellations, and departure delays lasting up to three hours. Inbound planes were delayed at their original airports by an average of 4 hours and 59 minutes.

Palm Beach International Airport saw 47 delays and 35 cancellations. There was no immediate information on the duration of the delays.

Storm floods inundated a segment of the Florida East Coast Railway rails between Aventura and Miami utilized by the high-speed Brightline service, disrupting passenger train services in South Florida and Miami-Dade County.

Brightline discontinued service south of Fort Lauderdale late Wednesday. According to a spokeswoman, service was functioning regularly north of the city.

Earlier, Brightline customers reported being taken by bus when southbound trains came to a halt at the Aventura station, located just south of the Broward-Miami-Dade county line.

The interruption impacted Tri-Rail’s new cross-county service between the area west of I-95 and the Miami-Central station downtown. According to spokesman Victor Garcia, Tri-Rail passengers were instructed to switch to the Metro-Rail system to get downtown Wednesday evening.

He said that flooded roadways near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport created delays for Tri-Rail shuttle buses between the rail line’s Griffin Road station and the airport terminals.

Aside from those incidents, Tri-Rail trains continued to operate between its northernmost stop in Mangonia Park in Palm Beach County, through Broward, and into Miami International Airport, he said.

Here it is again.
Residents still rebuilding from the terrible April floods were surprised by Wednesday’s rain, which served as an unwelcome reminder of what they had to go through little over a year ago.

Bob Thomas, 67, manages a halfway home in the Edgewood area, which was especially heavily impacted by the hurricane. Water was already reached his front gate Wednesday afternoon, approximately 6 feet from the structure and steadily rising.

“It brings back memories, that’s for sure,” he remarked when asked how he felt about the April floods.

Then the storm flooded the home with three feet of water. Thomas spent five months repairing the damage caused by the water, and he’s still not finished. Everyone in the house had to flee. Now he’s wondering when he should advise them to store their possessions up high and possibly depart again.

“If it continues for six more hours, we’ll be underwater,” he said.

Joe Martinez, 34, lost his automobile after last year’s storm. On Wednesday, he elected to park at a McDonald’s and walk the remaining distance with a 12-pack, wading through waist-deep water.

By late afternoon, he couldn’t get into his neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale’s Riverland, which was one of the worst impacted last year.

“I got within two inches of having water in my door last year,” Martinez added, worried since the rain hasn’t stopped. The canals have already overflowed, and “the water doesn’t have anywhere to go.”

Martinez had never seen anything like last year’s April deluge, which he estimated occurred once in a thousand years, and it looks to have happened again. He didn’t have a solid excuse.

Ted Inserra, president of the River Oaks Civic Association, encouraged the city to put in more temporary pumps to assist avert flooding.

“Water approaching front doors, messaged everyone, on hold from the 828-8000 number, in the 900 block of 19th street, we just got our power back on,” Inserra said. “We knew this was coming!!”

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis stated “an army of pump trucks” were stationed across the city to assist avert floods. “The problem is they don’t have any place to dump the water,” he said. “So they have to hold it.”

Trantalis was taken aback by the flooded streets in River Oaks and the surrounding Citrus Isles communities.

“River Oaks is heavily flooded,” he remarked. “Cars are still moving, but most streets have at least 6 to 8 inches of water.” Some houses are experiencing water intrusion. Citrus Isles is extensively flooded with incursion into several residences.”

Hollywood provided free parking in downtown garages until 8 p.m. Friday. Hopefully, they will not need to extend it beyond that, Hussey said, adding that the situation has been comparable to April so far.

“I’m anticipating the worst and I’m hoping for the best that that is not the case, but right now the amount of rain is very similar to what we saw for that April storm,” she said.

Many viewed the floods in April as a rare, terrible occurrence, but Wednesday’s downpour has caused others to rethink.

“Last year they called that the storm of the century,” remarked Thomas. “Now here it is again and I’m sitting here looking at the radar and I don’t really see an end to it.”

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