Fort Lauderdale begins lengthy restoration as floodwaters recede


Fort Lauderdale begins lengthy restoration as floodwaters recede

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (CNN) Fort Lauderdale and different communities throughout southeast Florida are working to get life again to regular after monumental flooding wreaked havoc on the world, closing transportation hubs, faculties and authorities places of work.

Through the peak of Wednesday’s torrential barrages, a month’s value of rain fell in only one hour. A lot of Fort Lauderdale’s streets was lakes when rain exceeding 2 ft inundated the coastal metropolis.

Fort Lauderdale Hearth Rescue crews on Thursday dealt with “one other 250 requires assistance on high of the 900” calls acquired throughout flooding the day earlier than, in accordance with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.

“Fortunately there have been no deaths recorded,” Trantalis mentioned throughout a Friday afternoon joint information briefing. There was a report of two firefighters sustaining minor accidents after they have been shocked by {an electrical} wire. “They’re OK,” the mayor added.

As floodwaters receded Friday, first responders are nonetheless conducting wellness checks and aiding residents in want of shelter.

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Administration, mentioned, “That is the second most catastrophic flooding occasion that I’ve seen in my tenure as emergency supervisor … over the past 33 years,” surpassed solely by Hurricane Ian.

Getting again up and operating

The flooding shut down the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Worldwide Airport for about 40 hours. It reopened Friday morning.

Surrounding areas have been additionally lashed with properly above a foot of rain, resulting in fast flooding that trapped residents, made driving depressing for motorists and pissed off air vacationers who couldn’t go away the airport.

“What we’re seeing is people in want of help,” mentioned Fort Lauderdale Hearth Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan. “There’s actually, at this level, no life issues of safety which might be on the market. Simply people that grow to be overwhelmed with what has taken place and wish help to flee flooded areas or houses,” Gollan mentioned.

“We’ve got crews on the bottom which might be on the market assembly these wants one after the other and bringing them to some extent the place we get them some meals, some water” and transported to a shelter, he added.

“We had a headcount of 32 folks in shelters on Thursday night time,” mentioned Amelia Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Emergency Administration. Roughly 600 others got here by a household reunification middle to obtain meals and water, Johnson mentioned.

The flooding impacts additionally prompted Broward County Public Colleges Friday to cancel courses for the second consecutive day.

Flooding lingers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Worldwide Airport on Thursday.

Along with responding to a whole bunch of rescue calls, crews all through the Fort Lauderdale metro space have been working to clear drains and deploy pumps the place doable to assist alleviate the consequences of flooding.

Hollywood, Florida, Mayor Josh Levy mentioned his metropolis noticed greater than a foot of rain accumulate in areas which have been experiencing consecutive days of “seemingly nonstop rain.”


“The bottom was already saturated so there’s in depth flooding throughout our metropolis and all through South Florida. Many roadways are impassable. A number of autos obtained caught and left deserted in the midst of our roadways.

“I’ve lived right here my entire life. That is probably the most extreme flooding that I’ve ever seen,” he mentioned.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a state of emergency for Broward County to offer extra sources to crews and residents on the bottom.

Jeremy Ennis, who mentioned he has been working in Fort Lauderdale for about 23 years, was caught on a metropolis street in his automobile Thursday as water ranges remained excessive.

“By no means have I seen something like this, ever,” Ennis informed CNN. “I’ve by no means seen this quantity of water, and I’ve seen (Hurricane) Katrina. I’ve seen many extra hurricanes.”

Just a few scattered thunderstorms are anticipated Friday and will deliver localized flooding. The menace just isn’t anticipated to be widespread. For the weekend, Saturday seems dry and some scattered storms are doable Sunday.

Rain was akin to high-end hurricane, forecaster says

Vans and a resident on foot make their method by receding floodwaters within the Sailboat Bend neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday, April 13, 2023.

Fort Lauderdale, residence to almost 200,000 residents, noticed 25.91 inches of precipitation in a 24-hour interval spanning Wednesday and Thursday, in accordance with preliminary stories from the Nationwide Climate Service workplace in Miami.

The deepest standing water surveyed Thursday was within the Edgewood neighborhood simply north of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Worldwide Airport, the place a nonetheless water mark of simply over 3 ft was measured close to Floyd Hull Stadium, in accordance with the climate service in Miami.

Different surrounding areas, together with Hollywood, Dania Seashore and Lauderdale Lakes, collected between 12 and 18 inches of rain in the identical 24-hour interval, the preliminary stories present.

“This quantity of rain in a 24-hour interval is extremely uncommon for South Florida,” mentioned meteorologist Ana Torres-Vazquez on the climate service’s Miami forecast workplace.

A high-end hurricane would sometimes dump rainfall of 20 to 25 inches over greater than a day, Torres-Vazquez mentioned, describing the rainfall as a “1-in-1,000 12 months occasion, or higher,” that means it is an occasion so intense the possibility of it taking place in any given 12 months is simply 0.1%.

Through the peak of Wednesday’s torrential barrages, a month’s value of rain fell in only one hour. Fort Lauderdale’s common rainfall for April is 3 inches, and it has been almost 25 years because the metropolis totaled 20 inches of rain in a whole month.

That is why it is going to take time for the water to empty utterly, officers mentioned.

“Due to the acute quantity of water, most areas might want to drain naturally,” Trantalis mentioned. “Crews are out in neighborhoods clearing storm drains to assist water receding from neighborhoods. Vacuum vehicles are being deployed strategically all through the town.

“There may be not one space of this metropolis that has not been impacted.”

Individuals attempt to save valuables, wading by excessive flood waters in a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., neighborhood on Thursday, April 13, 2023.

Local weather change is making excessive flooding occasions extra widespread

Excessive rainfall charges are a signature consequence of a warming local weather, and they’re taking place extra continuously in consequence.

That is simply the newest occasion of document rainfall hanging US cities, after a number of 1-in-1,000 12 months rains struck final 12 months, together with in Dallas, eastern Kentucky, St. Louis and Yellowstone National Park.

The explanation local weather change causes extra excessive flooding is as a result of hotter air can maintain extra water vapor, making storms able to dropping far more rainfall.

In line with the latest US National Climate Assessment, “Local weather change has already shifted precipitation patterns throughout the nation … together with an elevated probability of utmost rainfall occasions.”

Will increase in “very heavy precipitation occasions” — the heaviest 1% of all day by day rainfall occasions — have been noticed in each area of the US, in accordance with the Nationwide Local weather Evaluation.

Within the Southeast, data present very heavy rainfalls have increased by 27% over the previous 50 years.

CORRECTION: This story has been up to date to appropriate the variety of folks in emergency shelters.

CNN’s Jay Croft, Carlos Suarez, Alisha Ebrahimji, Joe Sutton, Raja Razek, Travis Caldwell, Jennifer Grey, Monica Garrett, Melissa Alonso, Brandon Miller, Robert Shackelford, Derek Van Dam and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.

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