Flooding in South Florida closes part of I-95, grounding flights

Heavy rains hit South Florida on Wednesday, closing major roads, stranding vehicles, causing delays and cancellations at airports and causing flash flooding in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas.

The severe weather, which began Tuesday, is the result of a “stationary” cold front over parts of the state that dumped more than 10 inches of rain in some areas, National Weather Service senior meteorologist Anthony Reynes at Miami. , said Wednesday afternoon.

Flash flooding was reported from Fort Lauderdale to downtown Miami, he added, noting that large urban areas, including some homes, were inundated with water and many vehicles were stranded. As of Wednesday evening, more than 10 inches of rain had fallen in Hollywood, Fla., more than nine inches in Fort Lauderdale and about eight inches in Miami, Reynes said.

The weather service has not received any reports of injuries or deaths, he said.

Part of Interstate 95 was closed in Broward County due to flooding. Hundreds of flights at Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport have been delayed or canceled, according to Flightaware.com. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport roads may also be flooded, the airport warned. Images posted on social media appear to show flooded shopping streets and the cars overwhelmed in flood waters, including at a indoor parking.

Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida declared a state of emergency in Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade and Sarasota counties. The declaration gives emergency resource managers the authority to allocate resources, including personnel, to respond to flooding and other impacts of severe weather.

Mayor Dean J. Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale said on social media that resources were being mobilized across the city. “If possible, avoid driving,” he said. “It is crucial to never attempt to cross high water.”

The city of Fort Lauderdale said in an email Wednesday evening that it responded to “multiple stranded vehicles” and that several city roads were impassable. Flood warnings will continue until Thursday morning, the city said.

The weather service issued its highest warning level Wednesday afternoon, a flash flood emergency, on a stretch extending from North Miami to Dania Beach. “The amount of rain that was falling quickly overwhelmed the drainage systems,” said Mr. Reynes, the meteorologist. “It was becoming a life-threatening situation.”

Like train cars, storm after storm moved from the west coast to the east coast of the southern Florida peninsula on Wednesday, flooding an area already saturated by rain.

Forecasters warned that the line of storms was slowly meandering south and expected rain to continue into the evening in areas already under flash flood warnings, including Miami. One to three inches of rain could continue to fall per hour.

Excessive rain is forecast again Thursday in South Florida, although it is unclear where the heaviest rain will fall. Given the amounts that fell Wednesday and the repetitive nature of the torrential rains, forecasters at the Weather Prediction Center said further flash flooding was possible late Thursday morning into the afternoon.

Leave a Comment