HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - It has been a soggy start to the weekend across South Florida, as a potential tropical storm threat looms.
Florida is prone to flooding, even during a regular rainy day, and residents in several communities on Friday were forced to deal with standing water and heavy downpours.
Just after 10 p.m., 7News cameras captured an SUV driver slowly making their way down a flooded street at a mobile home park near West 14th Lane and 29th Street in Hialeah.
The calf-deep standing water continued to rise as rain fell.
Area residents said the mobile home park floods every time it rains, and they have complained about it for years.
“It takes about three days to dry out, and sometimes we can’t even move, or we can’t even go anywhere,” said area resident Jennifer Larrazaval.
In some cases, residents said, the water seeps into their trailers and forces them to park their cars elsewhere.
“The water comes through, and it comes through our bedroom, it goes up our stairs, and we can’t even bring our kids to school,” said a resident who identified herself as Cassandra.
“My car, we have park it all the way in the back, and sometimes the water gets up to our knees,” said Larrazaval.
South Floridians were notified they remain under a tropical storm warning.
At a news conference, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava warned residents not to let their guard down.
“Residents can anticipate heavy rains and potential flooding throughout the weekend,” she said. “Flash flooding is possible, so residents should remain vigilant.”
Friday morning, drivers lined up in Pembroke Pines to get sandbags ahead of the wet weather.
Residents could be seen filling sandbags at Spring Valley Park, even as it rained on them.
City workers across South Florida on Friday continued deploying pumps to make sure water moves as quick as it falls.
The threat of flooding in some of Miami’s lowest lying areas has businesses in Mary Brickell Village ready with sandbags.
Businesses along Collins Avenue in South Beach propped sandbags against their front entrances.
“We did bring our sandbags out early this morning, just for safety measures and whatnot,” said store manager Peter von Fridrich. “It’s been drizzling all day. Definitely we’ve been waiting for rain all day. Definitely tomorrow, more rain and more flooding.”
The gloomy conditions kept things quiet on Ocean Drive and on the sand for most of the day.
Neighborhoods in Brickell, Miami Beach and Hollywood have historically flooded even during typical South Florida afternoon showers.
Friday afternoon, floodwaters in Brickell and downtown Miami began to recede as rainfall in the area slowed down. Although the rain resumed Friday night, the flooding along Biscayne Boulevard in downtown has been fairly minor.
Other spots, however, saw more flooding. Drivers were seen dodging floodwaters as they got on the northbound on-ramp to Interstate 95 from Southwest Eighth Street.
Miami resident Michelle Pillatzki, who just moved to area from Dubai, said her weekend plans are washed out.
“We were planning to go to South Beach, but with the rain, I don’t want to go,” she said.
In Sunny Isles Beach, a car stalled out on Collins Avenue, as the rainwater swallowed the road.
North of the county line, residents in East Hollywood, north of Pembroke Road and east of U.S. 1, dealt with street flooding and intermittent showers.
Homeowner Maria Vivier has called this neighborhood home for the last 47 years.
“The one time, we had 27 inches. Terrible, but anytime you have a flood, all the worms come out and the snakes, all kinds of little creepy crawlies,” she said.
“My car, it gets as high as to the tires,” said resident Jordana Kamely.
The South Florida Water Management District has been lowering levels in canals for days, sending water into the ocean and making room for expected rain.
“We open those and let the water rush out into the ocean. That’s how you bring the water levels down in the canal,” said Randy Smith with the South Florida Water Management District.
While it’s early in the season, it’s expected to be an active one.
“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 Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.
“This storm system, here just three days into hurricane season, is a vivid reminder that it’s time to make sure you are storm ready,” said Levine Cava. “Preparing yourself, your family, your property and your pets is the best way to stay safe from oncoming weather.”
Six to eight inches of rain are expected in Broward County between Friday night and Saturday.
Homeowners said they hope the water will leave just as fast as it arrived.
“It’s rained all day, and it’s not too bad. I’ve got my boots on, just in case,” said Vivier.
“We’re watching [the system] because it’s new to us. Coming from Dubai, we don’t get tropical storms at all,” said Pillatzki. “The most we get is desert storms, and if it rains over there, it rains once or twice in a year, so this is completely new.”
There are no evacuation orders for Broward County. No shelters have been announced as yet, as experts have said this is not that kind of storm.
“According to the National Weather Service, a significant rain event is predicted with potential significant flooding, so if you’re in a low-lying area, you want to be mindful of the amount of rain that’s coming down, and if you need to take protective action, you should be doing so,” said Broward County Emergency Management Director Tracy Jackson.
When asked what the protective actions are, Jackson said, “It’s really an individual thing, so if you’re in an area where water encroaches on, say, your patio, probably a good idea to move your furniture out of the way, bring things indoors that you don’t want to get wet and things of that nature.”
For a list of sandbag locations, visit here.
For more information regarding the potential storm, visit here.
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