Local officials show 7News county storm preparations

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - While residents wait for the tropical wave to make its next move, local officials are already taking precautions for the potential of several inches of rain.

Emergency management leaders are getting ready for heavy rainfall in South Florida. At a pumping station in Miami Beach, the storm water travels through large pipes and is distributed to a large waterway that leads the water into the ocean.

Officials made sure that all the pumping stations were working effectively, Thursday.

Twelve new pumps are being used in Miami Beach. Officials said the storm that is predicted to head toward South Florida will be a test-run for the pumps since they have not been used with record rainfall.

“If we get a storm event that blows through and dumps five inches of rain in an hour on us, we’re gonna have some flooding in the city, but these pumps will move it out faster,” said Miami Beach Public Works Director Eric Carpenter. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.”

Miami Beach knows flooding all too well, but these 12 pumps are ready to take care of the problem. “The pumps will turn on, and it’ll evacuate the wet well,” Carpenter said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said, Friday, the county does expect some flooding.

“We expect there may be some localized flooding,” Giménez said. “We will take care of those local issues as they occur. We don’t know where that may happen. Mother nature is unpredictable.”

Public Works crews used a pump truck, Friday, to clear out storm drains near Northwest 35th Avenue and 15th Street in Miami.

Kathia Camacho lives in the area and said it often floods during heavy rain.

“I thought it was excellent when I saw City of Miami coming out here and doing something for the community,” Camacho said Friday. “I haven’t seen them do this for many years.”

In Hollywood, crews put temporary pumps in parts of the city that tend to flood, as well as clearing out storm drains as they prepare for the worst.

“So, definitely, along our coastal areas, we want the public and our residents to understand that there is still that potential threat,” said Miguel Ascarrunz with the Broward County Emergency Management.

On Friday, Hollywood crews installed a six-foot pipe to clear a storm drain in the flood-prone area of 11th Avenue and North Lake Drive of Hollywood.

“If the weather gets really bad and it starts to flood, then crews will actually come out here, turn on the pumps and will be here to make sure that the neighborhoods stay dry,” city spokesperson Joann Hussey said.

South Florida Water Management is also taking precautions by lowering canals throughout Broward and Miami-Dade counties due to the rain. “The uncertainty makes it complicated,” said Randy Smith with the South Florida Water Management District. “When you’re in the water management business, when a storm is coming, you have to get ahead of it.”

In Sweetwater, officials are checking the pumps in the area as well. “All of them are working capacity except for one,” said City of Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez. “One did fail yesterday. I authorized the purchase of the subterranean pump.”

Tony Cappadona who owns Vespa Miami told 7News that he already has sandbags set away, just in case. “It helps, it slows the water down,” he said. “It still seeps underneath them, but at least it helps.”

It is still unclear what the storm system will bring, but it’s all about being ready.

Governor Rick Scott said they are also preparing for the storm, and although they have not activated their EOC as of yet, they said they are ready to do so if necessary.

Officials expect two to four inches of rain in the Florida Keys, but as of Friday, Monroe County is not expecting coastal flooding.

Officials suggested that residents clear any leaves or debris off storm drains in front of their homes.

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