South Florida Flash Floods: More Heavy Rainfall After Storms Flood Southern Region

Florida is bracing for more heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding after a tropical disturbance dumped up to 20 inches (50 centimetres) of rain in the southern parts of the state. Forecasters expect conditions to worsen on Friday, which has created significant concern.

After several days of heavy rain, the weather in South Florida began to improve on Thursday evening. However, many neighborhoods are still dealing with standing water. CBS News Miami’s chief meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said, “Conditions have improved remarkably and will stay the way they are. It will take a long time for the water to drain, but the worst of the weather… the five to 10 inches of rainfall that could have fallen did not come to pass, and for that, everybody can be excited about.” Despite this improvement, the Florida Keys are expected to receive heavy downpours for the rest of the evening.

 

 

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Record Rainfall Hits Florida

The storm system, though disorganized, moved across Florida from the Gulf of Mexico just as the early June hurricane season began. This year’s hurricane season is predicted to be one of the most active in recent memory, partly due to concerns that climate change is making storms more intense. The downpours started on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday, causing significant disruptions.

Two of Florida’s largest airports experienced flight delays. Many vehicles were left waterlogged and stalled in some of the region’s lowest-lying streets. On Thursday, residents worked hard to clear debris and prepare for the next round of rain.

The National Weather Service has warned that even smaller amounts of rain could cause flash floods in already saturated areas, creating dangerous conditions before the region has time to recover.

Tow truck driver Ted Rico described the scene: “Looked like the beginning of a zombie movie. There’s cars littered everywhere, on top of sidewalks, in the median, in the middle of the street, no lights on. Just craziness, you know. Abandoned cars everywhere.”

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State of Emergency Declared

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the counties of Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Sarasota. The mayors of Miami-Dade, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale also declared a state of emergency due to the severe weather.

The declaration led to the closure of public schools, courts, and Dania Beach’s city hall. Emergency services conducted at least 40 rescues in various affected areas. Rail routes across Miami and surrounding areas were also suspended due to the flooding.

 

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Impact on Local Infrastructure

In just two days, more than 15 inches (380mm) of rain fell on several southern Florida cities. North Miami recorded the highest totals, with more than 500mm of rain due to frequent and heavy thunderstorms over a short period.

One storm in Sarasota on Tuesday evening brought nearly 100mm of rain within an hour, setting a record for the area. David Parkinson, the senior weather producer at CBS News, confirmed that this was unprecedented.

 

Global Weather Anomalies

Florida wasn’t the only region experiencing extreme weather. The Spanish island of Mallorca also faced severe flooding after a freak storm on Tuesday stranded thousands of people. Planes were grounded at Palma airport, which closed after storms brought more than 50mm of rain in just three hours. Water streamed from the ceiling of the airport’s shopping area, and cars struggled to cross the flooded car park. The airport reopened later on Tuesday evening after the rains eased.

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In New Zealand, unseasonably warm weather was recorded across the North Island. The country’s warmest-ever June temperature was noted in Hastings on Monday, with a high of 25.7°C (78.2°F). This also qualified as the North Island’s warmest-ever winter temperature. The warm temperatures resulted from a warm air mass over New Zealand originating in the Coral Sea, combined with a north-westerly airflow that created the foehn effect as the air warmed while descending from higher terrain into Hawke’s Bay.

 

Preparation and Safety Measures

As Florida prepares for more rainfall, the National Weather Service has cautioned residents to remain vigilant. Flash floods can occur quickly, especially in areas already saturated from previous storms. It is essential to follow safety guidelines and stay informed through local news and weather updates.

Emergency services are on high alert and ready to respond to any crisis. Residents are advised to have emergency kits ready, secure their homes, and avoid driving through flooded areas.

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Affected Areas and Additional Rainfall

Doppler radar showed that thunderstorms had caused heavy rain in Hallandale, Dania Beach, Hollywood, and Fort Lauderdale. Additional rainfall of 3 to 6 inches was expected in areas including Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, and many others. Authorities urged drivers to avoid flooded roads, noting that most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

 

Flight Delays and Cancellations

The heavy rain and flooding caused significant delays and cancellations at Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for the second day in a row. As of 3 p.m. on Thursday, MIA had 284 canceled flights and 132 delayed flights, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood had 235 delays and 143 cancellations. MIA’s communications director, Greg Chin, advised travelers with confirmed flights to consider alternative transportation methods to the airport due to near-capacity parking garages.

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Passengers faced considerable difficulties due to the weather. Bill Carlisle, a Navy petty officer, described his challenging experience trying to catch a flight. He initially arrived at MIA early in the morning but couldn’t make his flight due to long lines. After booking another flight from Fort Lauderdale, he found that it was also canceled and had to return to Miami for a later flight, hoping it wouldn’t be canceled too.

 

Impact on Father’s Day Weather

CBS News Miami meteorologist Cindy Preszler mentioned that the chance of rain for Father’s Day on Sunday is only 30 percent. This is a significant relief for residents planning outdoor activities. The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning for Broward County on Thursday afternoon, but it expired at 8 p.m.

Floodwaters created dangerous driving conditions across South Florida. Ted Rico, a tow truck driver, spent much of Wednesday night and Thursday morning helping to clear streets of stalled vehicles. He described the scene as looking “like the beginning of a zombie movie” with cars abandoned everywhere. Rico emphasized that flooding issues worsen each year and people should avoid driving through deep puddles.

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Flooding in North Miami Neighborhoods

In North Miami, over 20 inches of rain turned streets into rivers. Pamela Lawhorn-Schwalm, a long-time resident, expressed her surprise at the amount of rainfall. “This is a lot worse than I have ever seen here in North Miami and there is water all around my front and back yard,” she said. Fortunately, her house remained dry, but the flooding was worse than any hurricane she had experienced.

The heavy rainfall also led to significant disruptions at airports. Miami International Airport experienced numerous delays and cancellations. Greg Chin, MIA’s communications director, reported near-capacity parking garages due to canceled and delayed flights. Travelers were advised to consider alternative transportation options to the airport.

 

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Local Authorities and Community Response

Local authorities are working hard to manage the situation. Drivers are urged to avoid flooded roads to prevent accidents and potential fatalities. The community is encouraged to remain vigilant and cautious, especially during hurricane season, as unexpected weather patterns can cause significant disruptions and hazards.

 

Preparing for Future Weather Events

The recent flooding highlights the importance of being prepared for severe weather events. Residents are advised to stay informed about weather conditions and follow safety guidelines to protect themselves and their property. With more rain predicted in the coming days, it is crucial to remain cautious and take necessary precautions.

By keeping the information simple and clear, this article aims to inform readers about the current weather situation in Florida, the impact on local infrastructure, and the broader context of global weather changes.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, while the weather in South Florida is improving, many neighborhoods are still dealing with the aftermath of heavy rain and flooding. The impact on travel, driving conditions, and daily life has been significant. Residents and authorities are working together to navigate these challenges and ensure safety as the region continues to recover.

Florida’s recent and upcoming weather events highlight the importance of being prepared and staying informed. The combination of record rainfall, severe flooding, and global weather anomalies points to a broader trend influenced by climate change, making it crucial for communities to adapt and respond effectively to such challenges.

 

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