South Florida prepares for another round of heavy rain

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida businesses and city leaders are prepping for another round of wet weather.

Earlier this month, the streets of Miami Beach were left looking like rivers – the water rising fast, flooding parking garages, businesses and apartments.

Now, the city is doing their best to prepare for a second wave of heavy rain this week. Crews have already put out pumps, and officials said they’re keeping an eye on the radar and tides.

“I don’t know what they are going to do, but they need to fix this problem,” said Fefi Lopez, the owner of 1821 Salon in Miami.

Residents and business owners are calling for a change, saying the flooding was supposed to be fixed. “The pumps were not working properly,” said Michelle Pacheco.

Morgan Blittner, owner of TKS Miami, also has issues with the pumping situation. “We’re getting inundated, and then the water stays in because there’s nowhere for it to go if the pumps are not working,” he said.

The City of Miami recently installed a nearly $3 million pump station to help prevent flooding. However, they will need more money to tackle other areas.

The storm water system is not designed to handle extreme volumes of water brought by tropical storms and hurricanes.

“Unfortunately, we can’t just throw on a light switch and have all the improvements in place all at once,” said Miami Beach Public Works Director Eric Carpenter. “We’re doing everything that we can to make sure that we don’t flood, but we never know what Mother Nature is going to throw at us.”

The city invested in a $400 million project to combat flooding and rising seas. Until then, Miami Beach city officials are warning residents to be prepared: put out sandbags and look for higher ground.

“We’re doing everything that we can to bring relief to the city that has historically had a flooding problem,” Carpenter said. “Please be patient, but also be prepared.”

The excess water from earlier this month should have ended up in the bay, but the system was overwhelmed with the amount of rain and lost power during the storm.

“They should have men by the pumps making sure they’re not going off,” Blittner said. “We have sandbags in place, we have additional water bags that prevent the flooding, but it’s very hard.”

Officials, however, have made investments in diesel generators.

“We actually have 18 temporary generators out throughout the city hooked up to our pump station,” Carpenter said.

And the roadway in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood was also flooded. The Mary Brickell Village pump station is not completed yet.

“Our temporary pumps have a fraction of the capacity of those large systems. They are already there, they’re drawing down the system,” said City of Miami Public Works director, Juvenal Santana.

Miami Beach city leaders said they’re working on a larger infrastructure improvement plan that’s 15 percent complete.

Officials said they have two temporary pumps installed and another six pumps on standby, ready to go for any possible flooding that may be brought on by this week’s rain.

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