Torrential rain floods businesses, homes in Miami Beach, Brickell

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - After days of heavy rainfall, Miami Beach and Brickell business owners and residents have been left to do major damage control in the hardest hit areas.

On Wednesday, the clean-up process continued, with business owners seen sweeping water out of their stores. Nelson Ferreira, who works at Shorty & Fred’s Auto Repair, said he took all the precautions after surviving plenty of storms.

“Everything comes off, and we pick the cars up on lifts,” said Ferreira. “Go home, cross your fingers.”

On Purdy Avenue, the 1821 Beauty Salon was left a soggy wet mess and forced to close early, Tuesday. The owner is now doing her best to dry out her business. “Before we knew it, we had floods all over our salon,” said Fefi Lopez, the salon’s owner. “It was like a river coming in from the back, from the floor, just running through the front.”

“I don’t know what [city officials] need to do, but they need to fix this problem,” she said.

Another restaurant trying to keep the water at bay, Tuesday, was Suviche, along the 1100 block of 16th Street. “We’ve been struggling with the water the whole day,” said Gustavo Rosa, Suviche’s General Manager. “I got sandbags out, as you can see, and try to prevent the water from coming in.”

Many drivers were also left stranded all over South Beach as the rounds of rain moved in, Tuesday.  7Skyforce even flew over one resident using a paddle board to navigate the flooded streets.

One man’s truck stalled out due to flooding on the corner of Lennox Avenue and 14th Street. “Car just shut off going through this puddle,” said Julian Allison. “I don’t know, I’m just stuck here. I don’t really know what to do.”

Many Miami Beach residents are now dealing with the repair costs after their cars sat in water. One resident even estimated the costs to be about $16,000.

However, it wasn’t just cars that stalled. Rosemarie Tarricone, 67, feared for her life as the elevator in her apartment building stalled and began filling up with water with her inside.

“I don’t know what happened, and all of a sudden, the water starts coming up from underneath,” she said. “When it started getting by my calves, by my knee, I started hitting the alarm and emergency — nothing. Banging on the door, “‘Help me please! I’m drowning.’ Now the water’s up to [my waist]. It was like a slow death.”

Luckily, Tarricone had her cell phone and was able to contact authorities. She is now doing OK.

Miami Beach City officials said yesterday’s rain measured at about seven inches per hour, which is about twice as much rain as the city’s infrastructure can handle.

Brickell also took a heavy hit with rain, Tuesday, and despite many businesses having gone back to normal, some owners and residents remain irate. “I’m just wondering, me, as a taxpayer, where’s my money going?” asked Brickell building manager Tom Roberts.

Sandbags at the door of a Brickell beauty salon along Southwest 10th Street were no match for the rising flood waters.

“We had about four to five inches of water in both locations,” said an employee. “We had to assess the damage and remove our boards and make sure we’re drying out the walls completely so that we don’t get mold.”

The salon stayed closed Wednesday as employees continued to clean up the flood’s mess. Closed doors means no customers and no money while the repair costs continue to rise.

“By the time all is said and done maybe three to four thousand dollars [worth of repairs],” said another employee.

The parking garage at Brickell City Center was among many properties that were flooded.

“The Brickell City Center area was the hardest hit by the tropical storm that we experienced in the City of Miami,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

City officials said between three-and-a-half and five inches of rain fell during the two-hour downpour.

“I feel like they really gotta work on their drainage in this part of town,” said Allan Filgueiras, a resident of Brickell, “because it’s insane. It’s impossible.”

According to city officials, a $3 million pump station being constructed in the city can prevent future flooding. However, they said they need more funding to tackle issues across the city.

“We roughly received anywhere between three-and-a-half to upwards of five-and-a-half inches of rain in a two hour period,” said Public Works Director Juvenal Santana.

Miami-Dade may get help with funding, and are urging business owners affected to report their damages here.

“If the residents do pass the general obligation bond in November, we will have real resources to put behind those infrastructure improvements that are sorely needed,” said city official Jane Gilbert.

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