Heavy Rains Bring Severe Flooding to South Florida, More Expected

Heavy rainfall is expected to swamp South Florida for a third consecutive day on Thursday, threatening more destructive flooding after Wednesday’s storms turned roads into canals and inundated homes. More rain is forecasted for later this week.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared an emergency for Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Sarasota counties following dangerous flooding that immobilized critical infrastructure, including major interstates, roadways, schools, and airports, According to CNN.

Flood Warnings and Impacts

Flood warnings are in place for Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Naples until Thursday morning, with rainfall totals between 4 and 13 inches on Wednesday. Up to an additional 2 inches of rain is possible in these areas. Flood watches extend through Friday evening across Southern Florida, with more heavy rain expected.

In Hallandale Beach, severe flooding submerged cars up to their windshields, forcing some drivers to abandon their vehicles and wade to safety. A family briefly lost their young son during the storm, but police later reunited them.

Resident Kait Madrigal spent five hours stuck in her car after it became surrounded by floodwaters on her way to work near Hollywood, Florida. She eventually waded through the water and found a possible exit route, managing to drive home safely.

Local officials are urging South Floridians to avoid driving through floodwaters and to stay home. The Florida Department of Highway Safety warns that most flood-related drownings occur when cars unknowingly drive into deep water. told by Yahoo

Infrastructure and Transportation Disruptions

Fort Lauderdale received more than a month’s worth of rain on Wednesday, with 9.58 inches, surpassing its average June rainfall of 9.55 inches. Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport led the nation in flight cancellations and delays on Wednesday, with over 1,200 disruptions expected to continue through the workweek.

Broward County officials postponed the demolition of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building, where a gunman killed 17 people in 2018, due to the severe storms.

Residents Brace for More Flooding

Many residents had just finished repairing their homes after catastrophic flooding in April 2023, only to face water encroaching on their properties again. Anna Rysedorph, a resident of Edgewood in Broward County, prepared for the worst as water circled her ankles in her home.

“I put the dogs in, I’m all packed up. I pretty much got everything in bins and we’re ready to go,” Rysedorph told CNN affiliate WSVN. “My husband’s like, ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic,’ but you know, I’m not gonna be caught unprepared.”

Growing Flood Risk

Considerable flooding is expected across the southern Florida Peninsula on Thursday and Friday as storms continue to pass over the state. Flood watches are in effect for over 8 million people across the region, with some lasting into Friday. as reported by AOL

Parts of the state could see double-digit rainfall totals by the end of the week, especially along the southwestern Gulf Coast from Sarasota to Everglades National Park. The risk of flooding will grow as storms unleash torrential downpours, soaking the soil and overwhelming waterways.

Climate and Seasonal Factors

Heavy rain events are becoming more intense as the world warms due to fossil fuel pollution. This week’s downpours are fueled by tropical moisture from the Caribbean funneling into South Florida along a front draped over the state.

The Central American gyre, a large area of showers and thunderstorms rotating over Central America and its surrounding waters, is contributing to the wet weather across the Gulf Coast.

June, July, August, and September are typically the wettest months in Florida, with frequent surges of tropical moisture and the impact of tropical systems driving up rainfall totals.