Overnight storms cause travel woes, flooding in South Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Strong storms that rolled in across South Florida overnight left some roads flooded and a major airport closed.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Hollywood area at around 2 a.m.

The warning has since expired.

Over in a residential part of Hollywood, several roads were left flooded. The roads have mostly cleared as of 10 p.m.

“It started to actually come inside the house about 2 o’clock,” said one resident. “That’s when we started evacuating and cleaning out.”

7News crews observed 20 disabled cars on their drive from North Bay Village to Hollywood.

“My car was probably five feet behind you, in the middle of the road,” said one driver. “I had a nice neighbor volunteer to push the car uphill to see if we can dry it off. I lost both my vehicles.”

One driver said he was on his way to work when his car came to an abrupt stop on Old Federal Highway and Southeast Second Street.

“Thought I could make it through and I didn’t,” he said. “It started rumbling and making weird sounds, smoke [was] coming out, and now I’ve got that burnt electrical smell, so I’m looking at a big repair bill. I don’t recommend people doing it.”

“We’re walking home because our cars are flooded,” Shelley Pearson said. “Mine is flooded on the inside. It’s blinking [and] going crazy. It’s not going nowhere.”

“There was another seven or eight cars in this area,” said one man. “The tow trucks must have gotten them out.”

“Our cars are stuck at a restaurant right now while we’re walking through this, barefoot as you guys can see,” a man said. “I’ve never seen it like this.”

One resident described what he saw while rowing his canoe through the streets with another resident.

“Well, a bunch of cars under water, first of all,” he said. “As we were walking, we almost fell ’cause it’s so slippery and there’s like a bunch of things under water that we can’t see.”

Some persons were able to get their cars started and moved into parking spaces after the water receded.

7SkyForce HD hovered above a man who was making his way around the streets of Hallandale Beach with a kayak and a rake as his paddle.

The Hallandale Beach racetrack was left flooded and horse owners at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino had to lead the horses away from the high waters in their stables and into a safer area.

City of Hallandale Beach crews worked to repair a pump that faulted at the north pump station, late Monday morning.

In North Miami, significant flooding was reported along Biscayne Boulevard.

7News cameras captured a flooded roadway in the area, Monday afternoon. A white Honda Civic could be seen disabled in the middle of the road.

Cameras also captured tow trucks removing broken down vehicles and debris left behind on the roadways.

Employees at a nearby FedEx office said they had water coming into the building and are now working to clean up the mess left behind.

One woman catching the bus to work told 7News she’s never seen flooding this bad.

“It’s terrible! Never in Miami, never! Three hours, rain, rain, rain, rain,” she said.

The heavy rainfall has stopped, but the trouble it caused for many remains.

“I’m waiting on a towing service for another hour and a half,” said one driver. “I slowed down and I got to here, and my car just stopped.”

Luckily, Veronica Dorfman came to help.

“She was the one driving. I just came to rescue her,” said Dorfman.

Close by, the first floor of an Aventura parking garage could be seen inundated with water.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport shut down operations just before 4 a.m., Monday.

The airport had more than 380 delayed flights and eight cancelled flights.

“You pay your money, they give you a time, you expect to leave on time,” said one traveler. “Not two or three hours later.”

The closure was due to flooded roads around the airport and grounded flights.

“The weather is nice in Chicago, that’s what I was worried about,” said one traveler. “I didn’t expect Florida to have a problem.”

Drivers could be seen talking to each other as they stood by their parked cars outside of the airport.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s just a little bit of water that closed down an airport,” said another traveler.

Officials reopened the airport at 6:30 a.m.

“FLL has reopened, and flight operations are resuming,” the airport wrote on Twitter. “There are roadway delays due to this morning’s flooding.”

“The airport was closed for a couple of hours due to the overnight rain that caused flooding, not only on the airport roadways, but on sections of the air fields,” said Arlene Statchell with Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport. “We are advising travelers to check with their airlines to make sure they have the latest flight information before heading out and, obviously, if you’re picking up or dropping off people, to just prepare and give yourself enough time to get here.”

“The shuttle buses for the rental cars were also stuck in the floods, so you can’t even get to the terminals,” said Jonathan Libertoff, who was headed to New York. “You gotta walk about half a mile to get to the terminals, but at least it’s not cold out like in New York.”

On Monday morning, FLL reported 113 flight delays and no cancellations. Miami International Airport reported two delayed flight departures due to inclement weather.

“I just got an email saying that it’s delayed until 6:45,” said a traveler.

“We left early enough in the day that I didn’t expect it at all,” another traveler told 7News.

Drivers out on the road are advised to remain cautious and patient when passing through areas with standing water.

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