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Florida is Hit by Heavy rains that have submerged neighbourhoods, transformed roads into rivers, and disrupted normal life, leaving over 108,000 customers without power. The severe weather event, attributed to a slow-moving storm over the Gulf of Mexico, brought heavy rain to central and southern Florida from Wednesday to early Thursday.
With flood watches in effect for as many as 7 million people on Wednesday, strong onshore winds reached gusts of 74 mph near Miami and 63 mph at Dania Pier near Fort Lauderdale. Miami-Dade County recorded 9.35 inches of rainfall in Cache, 7.58 inches in Coral Gables, and 4.90 inches in Miami. Broward County saw 8.30 inches in Plantation, and parts of Fort Lauderdale experienced rainfall ranging from 2.48 to 5.85 inches.
Radar estimates indicated an astonishing 15 to 20 inches of rain between Key Largo and the southern Everglades. Distressing visuals emerged, featuring cars navigating partially submerged highways, streets resembling flowing streams, and palm trees swaying fiercely in the strong winds.
The impact of the weather forced the closure of Broward County Public Schools on Thursday due to inclement weather. In Miami-Dade County, the Metromover transit system was suspended and replaced by a free bus shuttle service, while all other public transport modes experienced delays owing to severe flooding.
Fort Lauderdale reported 4 to 8 inches of heavy rainfall overnight, leading to power outages, mooring issues, road flooding, and wind damage. The groundwater table near saturation heightened concerns, particularly as the city anticipated the “highest tide of the year” on Thursday morning, exacerbating the already challenging conditions.
An additional 2 to 4 inches of rain and possible wind gusts up to 40 mph were expected later in the day, prompting a flood watch until noon Thursday. Authorities urged drivers to stay off the roadways due to downed traffic lights, flooded roads, and debris.
By 8:30 a.m. ET, over 108,000 customers were without power across Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, according to PowerOutage.Us. A high wind warning was in effect for coastal areas, with gusts up to 60 mph, and a storm warning covered the Atlantic waters with gusts of 50 to 60 knots.
This week’s heavy rainfall pushed Fort Lauderdale’s annual total to over 100 inches by Wednesday, surpassing the city’s average by more than 40 inches. This marked only the second time in 111 years of record-keeping that Fort Lauderdale’s annual rainfall exceeded 100 inches.
As of Thursday morning, the storm system was moving away from Florida, with most rain off the southeast coast. Gusty winds lingered as the system moved parallel to the Florida coast, with potential tropical downpours across central and northern Florida. The storm was expected to approach the coastal Carolinas on Friday and graze the New England coast, including Cape Cod, by Saturday, though widespread significant rainfall totals were not anticipated. As heavy rains and floods hit Florida, the situation remains staggering.