Fort Lauderdale: Severe flooding in Broward County facing record rainfall

(CNN) Fort Lauderdale’s wettest day in its history Wednesday — a 1-in-1,000-year rainfall event — triggered 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 was reported in the area, 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 drenched the greater Fort Lauderdale metro area since Wednesday afternoon. One mayor said the deluge was “the worst flood I’ve ever seen”.

Drivers try to navigate flooded roads in Fort Lauderdale Thursday morning.

“This amount of rain in 24 hours is incredibly rare in South Florida,” said Ana Torres-Vasquez, a meteorologist with 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.

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 a month for nearly 25 years.

Cars are parked on a flooded street in Tania Beach, Florida, Wednesday.
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More precipitation is a signature result of a warming climate, and it’s happening more often. Last year’s flooding in South Florida was 1 in 1,000 years. Dallas, St. Louis, Eastern Kentucky And Yellow stone.

“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, “we’re doing everything we can” to install pumps wherever possible and keep drains clear, Mayor Josh Levy told CNN.

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

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

More rain and storms are expected on Thursday

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

“After a historic day of rain in parts of South Florida that many of us will soon forget, today is another wet day.” Miami Weather Service said.

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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 activated their emergency operations center and will 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 floor is flooded and crews are working to restore power to the building,” he said Thursday morning. Upgrade.

City officials are asking neighbors to be patient as “flooding conditions will affect the southern portions of the city this morning.”

“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 crews are clearing drains and running pumps to quickly reduce the water. Efforts have been made to reduce traffic congestion with a prioritized signal to assist people leaving the city. We ask drivers to stay off the roads and avoid the city of Fort Lauderdale until the water recedes,” City of Fort Lauderdale said in a press release on Wednesday evening.

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.
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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.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Brandon Miller, Robert Shackelford, Derek Van Dam, Sara Weisfeldt, Tina Burnside and Devon Sayers contributed to this report.

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