South Florida braced for ‘life-threatening’ floods after days of rain

By Reuters
June 14, 2024
A car drives through flood water at a trailer park community in Hialeah, Florida, November 16. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: More torrential downpours deluged South Florida on Thursday, adding to more than a foot of rain that fell on parts of the state this week and leading forecasters to issue flood watches or warnings for an area where 8 million people reside.


Some areas, including portions of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, are threatened with “life-threatening flooding,” the National Weather Service said. A few spots have reported up to 18-to-25 inches of rain since Monday, said Bob Oravec, a forecaster with the service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

The slow-moving storm - a disorganized tropical depression drawing its strength from warm Gulf Coast and Atlantic waters - is expected to linger over the state until early Saturday before pushing out to sea, Oravec said.

Even though the system is not expected to strengthen into a tropical storm, it could be a wet prelude to what is expected to be a busy hurricane season, which got underway on June 1. With another 5 inches of rain possible before Friday night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for five South Florida Counties late on Wednesday.

Media reports and social media posts showed stalled cars and people wading in streets covered in hip-deep water, or paddling in small boats and kayaks. In some areas water has swamped lawns and pushed up to the front doors of houses and other buildings. Parts of Interstate 95, a main north-south route along the East Coast, were closed due to flooding on Wednesday. “The problem is that there is no place for the rain to go,” said Oravec. “The ground is so saturated. In some places water is rising up from the sewers.”