FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport remains closed for a second day after days of relentless rainfall resulted in historic floods in Broward County, as travelers who have been stranded for hours continue to wait for updates.

As rain fell outside the airport all day Wednesday, people inside became desperate to leave. Some have been waiting for 12 hours after the airport completely shut down at around 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I was freaked out, and I was kind of scared,” said a girl. “I kind of calmed down; I took deep breaths.”

7News cameras on Thursday captured passengers fast asleep in Terminal 1, as well as several unmanned ticket counters. Hours later, it was virtually empty, its silence occasionally broken by murmurs of conversation.

“I took myself all the way to the highway and tried to catch Ubers; it wasn’t working, the cabs,” said a traveler. “We actually came back, walking back here, the phones died, everything like that.”

“Both entrance and exit were blocked on the way out, so we’ve been here all night,” said another traveler.

Joel Walkes said he camped out overnight.

“I got stuck here,” he said.

Walkes, a father of eight and grandfather of 29, came to town to attend a family funeral. He arrived at FLL on Tuesday to catch a flight to Seattle, and he is still waiting.

“I just want to get home,” he said.

County officials admitted this is a tough situation to plan for.

“We thought we were there, but one in a thousand storms, we just can never predict,” said Broward County Mayor Lamar Fisher.

Twenty-four hours after the shutdown, the runway is still flooded, Some airport workers found themselves wading through ankle-deep water to finally reach their cars.

“It’s Mother Nature, so, you know, it’s just one of those things,” said an employee.

As for that flooded runway, officials said, the only tool that will work is time.

“When you see flooding like this, the signs are 5 feet tall. You can have all the vacuums in the world, and it’s just not going to help,” said Fisher.

Some passengers were diverted to Palm Beach International Airport.

“I didn’t know it was that bad until we got outside and saw how high the waters were,” said a traveler.

“I’m here, and I’m going home, so that’s the important thing,” said another traveler.

Walkes, unfortunately, isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet.

“I’m tired, I’m very tired. I haven’t had any sleep, and I’m pretty hungry,” he said.

When asked about the torrential downpours that have battered the region, Walkes replied, “You can’t stop Mother Nature.”

FLL officials said improvements to the runways beginning in 2014, including changes in elevation, likely helped the flooding on the tarmac to be less severe, but it wasn’t enough to offset the rain.

FLL officials said the airport will remain closed until at least 9 a.m. on Friday. They advise travelers to check with their airlines for updates on their flights and refrain from coming to the airport.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox