Historic flooding turned streets into lakes across Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday and Thursday, sending residents to shelters and shutting down the airport after nearly 30 inches of rain, with more coming Friday and Sunday.
Historic flooding after nearly 30 inches of rain falls across Fort Lauderdale
Nearly 30 inches of rain fell across Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday and Thursday, closing the city’s airport for two days, flooding roads, turning them into lakes and rivers, submerging cars, and sending residents to shelters.
At least 600 residents were counted in emergency shelter locations on Thursday night, the city said, NBC News reported. The city’s fire department received at least 900 calls for service, including rescues. “We strongly urge everyone to stay off the roads,” the City of Fort Lauderdale said in a tweet.
Early figures show historic amounts of rainfall, with Fort Lauderdale getting more than two feet of rain on Wednesday alone, in a 1-in-500, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
Homes around the Fort Lauderdale area, such as the small neighborhood of Edgewood just north of the airport, were filled with water, the Miami Herald reported. Cars were stranded in floodwaters that reached above their hoods, while homes were partially submerged with a few inches to many feet of water.
“Historic rainfall has occurred in the Fort Lauderdale metro area the past 36 hours,” according to a flood warning by the National Weather Service. “Despite the heavy rain coming to an end (Thursday) evening, numerous roads remain closed due to flooding.”
Airport reopens, but major delays, and more threatening weather
On Friday, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened, but operations resumed slowly, with departures “delayed an average of 168 minutes due to runway obstruction,” the Federal Aviation Administration said, CNN reported.
“Travelers are advised to check with their airlines for updated flight times BEFORE coming to the airport,” the airport said.
Travelers can check the status of their flights online here.
Ft. Lauderdale faces the threat of even more catastrophic flooding over the weekend
A flood warning remained in effect through 10 AM EDT on Friday, according to the National Weather Service office in Miami.
The threat of possible thunderstorms will loom over the area on Friday, especially during the afternoon and early evening downpours. The storms could bring heavy downpours to local areas, however, they are not expected to be as severe as the rain that battered the city this week, CNN reported.
The latest 3-day forecast by the National Weather Service (NWS) shows thunderstorms throughout nearly the entirety of Florida on Friday except for the Western Panhandle.
On Sunday, the NWS forecast shows thunderstorms across the entire state of Florida, while a forecast from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) shows a slight (15%) chance of severe weather in northwestern Florida where the state borders Alabama and Georgia, while a 5% chance throughout the central and northern regions of the state.