MIAMI (WSVN) - South Florida began the weekend with torrential downpours and standing water, as a potential tropical storm led to heavy flooding in some areas, but many of the roadways have dried up following a rough night.
Saturday afternoon, the streets near Southwest First Avenue and 10th Street in Miami’s Brickell section were getting much better, as city workers worked to clear out some drains after the rain dumped on the neighborhood for hours.
But the flood trouble persisted. A 7News viewer captured cellphone video from a high-rise showing flooded streets and several cars stuck in the area, submerged in a few feet of water.
7News cameras captured vehicles making waves across flooded Biscayne Boulevard near Northeast 13th Street after morning showers soaked the area.
“It’s been a very busy night. We’ve been at this since 5 [p.m.] yesterday,” said City of Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez. “We’ve seen a lot of flooding. We’re still seeing people out of the road.”
Dozens of drivers became stuck in the high waters.
“A lot of people did prepare, but still a lot of people were out driving last night, and those are the ones that got stuck, and we’ve had over 40, 50 cars, that were stuck out in the water,” said Sanchez. “We had to help people, rescue people out of their vehicles.”
Cameras showed extensive flooding along Southwest First Avenue near 10th Street.
“People left [their vehicles] overnight, parked on the street that floods the most in Brickell,” said area resident Kevin Gazitua. “What I’ve seen is pretty much the same thing every time it rains all day. You know, massive flooding right here and through half of Brickell and people getting their cars stuck right in front of Publix.”
Just north of Brickell, crews were forced to close off- and on-ramps to the MacArthur Causeway from Biscayne Boulevard to clean up the area.
Authorities advised residents to stay home in order to avoid getting waterlogged in the middle of the street.
“We’re asking everyone to please still stay inside. There’s a lot of flooding; we don’t want people getting stuck in the water. We have eight high-angle rescue vehicles that are out assisting people that are stranded in their vehicles,” said Sanchez. We’ve seen a lot of abandoned cars. There have been about 125 storm-related calls since about 1:30 in the morning when this all started to transpire.”
A security guard told 7News about 60 cars have been towed.
City of Miami Fire Rescue Special Operations trucks were seen driving around making sure no drivers are stranded.
Sanchez said no injuries were reported.
“We’re happy about that. We were able to get to everyone quickly. We’ve prepared for this, we had additional resources,” he said.
City workers finally reopened the roads in the afternoon, but not before what seemed like an endless parade of tow trucks worked to clear up all of the stalled cars from the morning. An SUV that was towed appeared to have gone nose first into the water.
In Hollywood, there is flooding in the area east of U.S. 1 south of Sheridan Street and north of Hollywood Boulevard, around the Hollywood Lakes area.
According to the National Weather Service, a weather observer reported 13.5 inches of rain at the Hollywood Water Treatment Plant.
A flood of trouble was also spotted in Northwest Miami-Dade, Saturday morning.
Streets were barely visible in the area of Northwest 13th Avenue and 102nd Street following continuous downpours.
Floodwaters submerged some cars and reached the front steps of several homes.
Stephanie Handford said the overnight storm brought down part of a roof at her 95-year-old aunt’s home along Northwest 75th Street.
“The whole house is falling apart. There’s cracks in the wall, and the house is, like, caving in,” said Handford. “Part of the roof fell in; the water, the debris, everything came down on her.”
Handford said her aunt, named Agnes, was not injured and has been moved to a part of the house, located that is not damaged.
The family said the home has been in serious need of repairs.
“Water damage all the way through it,” said a family member.
Handford said they tried to patch things up before the storm rolled in.
“Me nephew came a tarp on yesterday, ’cause he saw a little leak in one of the bedrooms, but it wasn’t that big of a deal, so I said, ‘Put the tarp up just to make sure,'” she said. “Everything fell in a day. It was like disastrous; it’s crazy inside.
Handford said getting her aunt to leave the place she’s called home for decades is proving to be difficult.
“I need some help with repairing these things,” said Agnes.
Mother Nature also affected a Gregory Guerra’s printing business along Northwest 71st Street in Miami.
“We had a measurement of seven inches of water. The new rolls that we had in stock, all damaged,” he said. “I’m very depressed over the situation.”
Guerra said this is where he makes his living printing campaign signs. When the water gushed in, it left his high-voltage machinery damaged and in some cases destroyed.
“That what gets the production done. I mean, yes, they are manually run by employees, but without having the ability to dry it, I cannot print one sign,” he said.
Guerra said he is looking at a price tag of several hundred thousand dollars, and at this point, he doesn’t know what to do next.
“Our goal is just to get the employees back and get back to work that needs to get done, and try to salvage this somehow, some way,” he said.
City of Miramar officials said they are helping residents prepare for severe flooding by distributing sandbags.
Sandbag distribution began Saturday at 11 a.m and continued until 6 p.m at the Adult Day Care Center near Miramar Parkway.
Residents must show proof of Miramar residency. The distribution has a six-sandbag limit per household.
For a list of sandbag locations, visit here.
Power outages have also been reported in South Florida. As of Saturday morning, there were 821 customers in Broward County without electricity. In Miami-Dade County, there were 2,722. Those number have since gone down to 137 in Broward and 2,612 in Miami-Dade as of 10 p.m.
There have been flight cancellations at local airports as well.
At Miami International Airport, officials said 34 arrivals and 29 departures were canceled. As of Saturday night, the airport has reported 334 delayed flights, mostly due to the inclement weather.
At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, 32 arrivals and 33 departures were canceled. As of Saturday night, the airport has reported 268 delays.
Delays are expected. Travelers are advised to plan ahead before heading out.
Back in Brickell, people were back out and about on much drier streets on Saturday night following a soggy afternoon.
Handford has started a GoFundMe page to help with repairs to her aunt’s home. If you would like to help, click here.
Guerra has also started a page to raise funds to help his printing business. If you would like to make a donation, click here.
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