FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A wet and windy Wednesday following Tuesday night’s weather brought heavy rainfall and persistent winds to part of South Florida.
The heavy precipitation led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for northern and central Miami-Dade County, followed by another for Broward County. They remain in effect until 6 a.m. on Thursday.
According to 7News meteorologists, Fort Lauderdale saw up to 7 inches of rain Tuesday and set a record with 2.75 inches measured on Wednesday. The cause? A slow-moving, non-tropical low over the Gulf of Mexico and a warm front lifting north, ushering in abundant tropical moisture.
Rounds of rain were forecast. They escalated to widespread rain and thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon into the night hours. Storms are expected to linger into Thursday morning, with gradual clearing anticipated by the afternoon.
A flood watch is in effect for Miami-Dade and Broward through Thursday morning, emphasizing the risk of flooding in low-lying areas. Additionally, a wind advisory is issued for Coastal Miami-Dade and Broward through Thursday at 1 p.m., cautioning residents about wind gusts up to 40 mph along the coast.
In Lauderdale Lakes, the wind gusts toppled over a tree and destroyed two cars.
Spiro Marchelos, the owner of Anglers Beach Cafe, even gave his employees the day off due to the unpredictable conditions.
“It’s a loss of revenue, but we have no choice,” he said. “The weather is bad, and people aren’t going to come to the beach today. It’s windy, rainy, and the streets are flooded.”
Rosie, a neighbor in the area, did not hear the tree falling on top of the cars.
Neighbors believe that the saturated soil gave way sometime overnight.
“The wind was really what I noticed to be very bad,” she said.
The soggy conditions also prompted Broward College officials to cancel classes for the rest of the day.
Travelers at local airports had to wait a little longer for their flights. Miami International Airport reported 58 delayed arrivals and departures, whereas Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reported 74 delays. However, there have been no cancellations as of late Wednesday night.
Officials caution that Wednesday’s downpours are just a prelude to a forecast stretch of wet weather in the coming days.
“It was insane. I was driving to my business because the water was rippling inside the front door,” said Fort Lauderdale resident Bianca Pandolfo.
In Fort Lauderdale’s Edgewood neighborhood, where historic flooding occurred last April, Greg Brandenburg is bracing for the worst.
“It’s just so much rain that we’ve had this year, it’s crazy,” he said. “Now we got this rain situation coming back again. It’s just tiring.”
The only people enjoying the rough waves on the beach were the windsurfers spotted in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach.
Flooding poses a significant threat, with anticipated rainfall ranging from 3 to 8 inches and isolated totals exceeding 10 inches. Authorities have strategically placed three temporary pumps in Edgewood and River Oaks to mitigate potential high water issues.
Similar precautions are underway in Hollywood, where pumps are being tested following East Hollywood’s flooding in April.
Miami is taking proactive measures, with crews actively clearing storm drains to ensure smooth water flow. Pompano Beach is following suit in their area.
As a flood watch and king tides remain in effect in Miami-Dade County, high water was seen near Northeast 79th Street.
Over in Miami Beach, city crews worked Wednesday morning to get ahead of the expected heavy rain.
“Eight temporary pumps stationed throughout the city, our teams are driving through the city right now cleaning drainage catch basins, checking the pump stations,” said Joe Gomez with Miami Beach Public Works. “We have 48 permanent storm water pump stations.”
A temporary pump was working along Eighth Street and West Avenue, while kite surfers took advantage of the strong winds and high surf.
Across the bridge in Brickell, business owners were happy to see the pumps being set up.
“So that’s really good news. We have a pump here, God forbid, but we do have a higher elevation where this location sits,” said Dominic Cavagnuolo, the owner of DC PIE CO. Brickell.
A total of 13 pumps were set up in Miami.
“Temporary pumps are in place should the waters begin to accumulate and start standing; that’s when the pumps begin to operate,” said Kenia Fallat, Miami Director of Communications.
Wet streets were also seen in Homestead.
Adding to the challenge, South Florida will contend with king tides this week.
“I’m not worried. Like I said, I have been here a while,” said Hollywood resident Pat Zizlsperger.
Back in Fort Lauderdale, officials stressed the importance of preparedness, with police officers and fire rescue crews on standby ready to help.
“It’s an unknown. Mother Nature controls us,” said Marchelos.
A high surf advisory is in effect for the east coast, warning of breaking waves reaching 6 to 10 feet.
Late Wednesday night, Broward County Public Schools officials announced the cancellation of classes at all of their public schools on Thursday, as well as the closure of all district offices. Broward College also confirmed all their campuses will remain closed on Thursday.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials, on the other hand, said classes will resume as scheduled, and all public schools will remain open.
As the forecast signals more rain ahead, residents are urged to stay vigilant and make necessary preparations.
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