OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - With heavy rain expected to start on Friday and continue throughout the weekend, the city of Oakland Park is one of the first cities in Broward County to begin flood preparations.

This weekend, South Florida is possibly going to see it’s first tropical action of a predicted active Hurricane season.

A Tropical storm watch is in effect as of 5 p.m., Thursday. There is also a flood advisory for all of Broward County until 7:45 p.m.

Hours before many gathered for free sandbag distributions, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis stood before the piles asking those to be ready for the potential storm that will possibly hit South Florida over the weekend.

“Our word to the community is stay safe, be safe and be wise,” said Trantalis.

“It’s a wake-up call, the way I see it,” said Vince Valldeperas. “It’s time to get ready and get some things in order just in case something worse comes along later.”

Valldeperas is not taking any chances and filled up free sandbags that are being handed out at Mills Pond Park, located on 2201 NW Ninth Ave. in
Fort Lauderdale, Thursday afternoon.

“A couple years ago, we had a bit of a flood in the neighborhood,” said Valldeperas. “A little bit of water got into the garage, so I figured take precautions. It would never hurt to be ready.”

“You’re gonna see cars flooded out, driveways and streets impassable,” said Trantalis, “so please be careful.”

A woman told 7News her home had flooded last year and has never used sandbags before and is willing to give it a try.

“And my laundry room flooded out; it was like a river,” said the woman.

At Mills Pond Park the sandbags will be given out until 7 p.m. The giveaway will continue Friday morning at 8 a.m.

Free sandbags were also offered to people in case of flooding on Northeast 12th Terrace at the Streets Department, located at 5100 NE 12th Terrace.

This is only sandbag distribution for Oakland Park residents, and the sandbags will be there throughout the day with the pile being refilled when necessary.

More prep is underway across South Florida as water managers start to open up floodgates both in Broward and Miami-Dade counties to alleviate some of the effects from heavy rain.

Several Oakland Park residents went to grab sandbags to avoid the mad dash before the weekend.

“I like getting things done much earlier, and that way, I know it’s coming, it’s supposed to be this weekend,” said Don Osman.

“I had to work this weekend, so it made me a little nervous that I have to work during this crazy storm, so I’m here getting some sandbags early,” said Leann Parr. “It’s crazy. Our street floods anytime there’s rain. It rained a few days ago, and our whole yard was flooded.”

Sandbags will be given away until they run out.

Residents will need to show proof that they live in Oakland Park and are limited to five bags per household.

The weekend rain activity is also prompting some warnings in Miami-Dade.

City officials said from Thursday until Sunday, people should know if there is a big chance of flooding in the area.

Some areas of South Florida have already experienced heavy rainfall and have become saturated. That has become a partial reason as to why the Florida Water Management District is doing what they are able to, to make room for more flooding.

“We are seeing forecasts of probably four to eight inches of rain,” said South Florida Water Management District’s Randy Smith.

Flood gates will be opened to lower water levels to help minimize street flooding.

“We open those and let the water rush out into the ocean,” said Smith, “and that’s how you bring the water levels down in the canals.”

Some cities like Hollywood, are doing what they can by placing pumps. In Pompano Beach, crews are clearing debris drain by drain, so it’s easier for water to flow in freely.

“It’s important that if you see anything like leaves, trash and debris that we keep those clear of those drains,” said Pompano Beach Utilities spokesperson Nathaniel Watson.

It may be early into the season but there has already been activity in the tropics.

“This may not be the full hurricane that oftentimes comes to our shores, but it is a wake up call to those in our community to get ready, be prepared,” said Trantalis.

In Miami, road flooding is typically seen along Biscayne Boulevard between Northeast 11th Street and 13th Street as well as the ramps to and from the MacArthur Causeway.

Drivers should seek alternate routes to avoid flooded areas.

For other locations distributing sandbags in Broward County and Miami-Dade County, click here.

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