South Floridians brace themselves for second day of flooding as system approaches

Amid a brief lull in the weather Thursday, already flood-weary South Floridians are bracing themselves for another round of heavy rain and flash floods as a line of storms approaches the region.

A frontal boundary stationed near parts of central and southwest Florida is gradually making its way south and will likely cause more flooding in areas that were already inundated on Wednesday, though forecasters can’t say exactly what areas will be most affected.

The National Weather Service Miami has issued a “high risk of excessive flooding” warning, a rare warning only for situations in which widespread flash flooding is likely and potentially “catastrophic” in some areas.

Future radar shows the heaviest bands of the system approaching during rush hour.

The beginnings of the weather could be felt late Thursday afternoon. A strong thunderstorm was headed towards inland parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties just before 3 p.m., bringing winds as high as 30 mph.

The City of Fort Lauderdale told residents in a 3 p.m. update that the city is anticipating 10 to 12 inches of rain from 3 to 7 p.m. as storms roll through.

“The groundwater table is nearly saturated,” the city wrote on X. “This will create flooding conditions very quickly.”

In Wednesday’s hard-hit cities, including Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Dania Beach, crews worked to pump water, and even some residents helped to de-clog drains along flooded streets before the rain begins again. Many drains are clogged Thursday following Wednesday’s storms, officials say. Meanwhile, tow trucks have continued to work since Wednesday to remove dozens of cars from the roads.

Buildings were also affected. Hallandale Beach shut down its City Hall because of flooding as of 2:30 p.m., Mayor Joy Cooper wrote on Facebook.

“This will allow for residents currently at City Hall to conclude their business and hopefully make it home safely,” she said.

In Miramar, several homes were flooded with up to 8 inches of water, city officials said.

City officials from Hollywood, Dania Beach, Hallandale and Fort Lauderdale said it was too early to say how many homes were damaged. But some residents have already reported flooding in Dania Beach and Fort Lauderdale, though largely not to the same extent as April 2023.

In Wilton Manors, resident Boyd Corbin reported seeing sewage bubbling out of manhole covers in the street.

South Florida’s passenger rail services had returned to close to normal earlier in the day, but air travelers continued to suffer protracted delays and large numbers of flight cancellations as heavy rains again hindered the region’s transportation system.

Brightline, the high-speed rail service, started the day with a modified schedule after floodwaters made a mile-long stretch of tracks between Aventura and Miami impassable late Wednesday along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor.

Tri-Rail, the three-county commuter service that runs west of Interstate 95 through Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, reopened its connection to MiamiCentral station in downtown Miami.

But it was another day of inconveniences and frustration at South Florida’s three international airports as passengers again faced hours-long waits triggered by bad weather.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport advised passengers to check with their airlines for flight status updates before leaving for their air terminals.

“Our terminal & airport exit roadways are clear, but a section of E, Perimeter Rd. into #FLL is closed due to flooding; use alternate routes,” the airport declared on its X account.

Shortly after midday Thursday, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood had 182 delays and 116 cancellations, Miami International had 186 delays and 269 cancellations, while Palm Beach International had nominal numbers of delays and canceled flights, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.

Port Everglades said it has remained open for business during the bad weather even though some of its roads flooded. Cars and trucks on Wednesday were able to travel through the port, said spokeswoman Joy Oglesby.

“We are operating as normal today,” she said.

This is a developing story, so check back for updates. Click here to have breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.