MIAMI (WSVN) - Heavy downpours and strong gusty winds wreaked havoc in parts of South Florida, leading to widespread flooding, a partial roof collapse and at least one downed tree.
The relentless rains gave shoppers more than they bargained for at Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise.
Late Friday afternoon, 7News cameras captured a stalled SUV in a partially flooded parking lot at the shopping center.
Not far from the SUV, a driver sat in a dark colored sedan that was also unable to move.
“It looked like an entrance, and I just got stuck, so we’re waiting for the tow truck,” the driver said.
Floodwaters were so high that several drivers hit a curb they couldn’t see and were left lopsided.
A tow truck driver eventually arrived at the parking lot and got to work.
“So far, this is the third one, but it will be a long night,” he said. “This happened about [three] and a half years ago, 2018, I think.”
From the second floor of a parking garage, shopper Pamela D’Amelio recorded cellphone video of drivers struggling to make their way through the roadway that circles the mall.
“I cannot. Look at this. This- oh, my God,” she said in the video
At the time, D’Amelio said she was waiting for the water to subside. She drove to the second floor of the garage after she saw flooding on the first floor.
“I was afraid of what the first level looked like, because water was coming up through the pipes,” she said.
While the heaviest rainfall took place in Broward County, Friday evening, most of the thunderstorms south of the county line stayed off shore.
But the flood of trouble also caused headaches in Miami-Dade.
Dark clouds hovered above downtown Miami as afternoon showers dampened rush hour commutes.
Hours earlier, cellphone video captured drivers making their way through a flooded road, also in downtown Miami.
“Oh, my gosh,” a woman is heard saying in the video.
7News cameras captured flooding along Biscayne Boulevard, near Northeast 13th Street, near Interstate 395.
Nearby construction complicated the already soggy traffic conditions.
City of Miami Fire Rescue officials said the storms caused part of the roof of a laundromat along the 4700 block of West Flagler Street and Seventh Avenue to collapse just before 4 a.m.
“As soon as I opened the door, the whole water started coming out,” said business owner Elicer Gallardo. “I don’t know how long it will be before we open again, but it’s closed.”
The other businesses in the strip mall where the laundromat is located also remained closed on Friday.
“Because we don’t know the integrity of the rest of the roof, we’ve cordoned off this entire section of the strip mall to not allow anybody in until structural inspectors can come out and deem the building,” said Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll.
Down in Palmetto Bay, a tree came crashing down, crushing Michael Zebold’s pickup truck, trailer and other tree trimming equipment.
“I’m just in shock. Unfortunately, this morning is when I’ve seen everything, the damage that occurred,” said Zebold.
The rainfall abated in the late morning but intermittent showers resumed in the afternoon in Broward and Northeastern Miami-Dade, prompting a slew of weather advisories.
Strong thunderstorms developed from the coast at around 3:30 p.m. and headed as far west as Doral and Hialeah. A waterspout was spotted off shore but quickly dissipated.
In Biscayne Bay, abandoned boats were shoved onto rocks just off the 79th Street Causeway.
In Broward, thunderstorms lingered west of Interstate 95 in Pembroke Pines, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Sunrise and other parts of the county.
The heaviest rainfall was reported in North Lauderdale with just over four inches and Margate with just under four inches.
Back at Sawgrass Mills, floodwaters in the parking lot where the SUV stalled out have continued to recede.
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