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DeSantis Declares State of Emergency for South Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for South Florida Wednesday evening after 24 hours of inclement weather brought heavy rain and flooding to the region.

Flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where rainfall rates of several inches an hour submerged streets and snarled traffic.

The city of Sarasota was swamped Tuesday, with a record 3.93 inches of rain falling in just one hour. The rain forcing ground stops at both Miami International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airports, causing delays in excess of seven hours.

“We were looking at renting a vehicle to try and make it even to Orlando and maybe get on a flight but that isn’t going to work either,” frustrated traveler Chris Stephens told CBS Miami.

In a statement, the governor’s office said that the severe weather and flash flooding prompted DeSantis to declare state of emergencies for Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade and Sarasota counties.

Earlier in the day, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis also declared states of emergency, along with the cities of Dania Beach and Sunny Isles Beach.

“Due to ongoing heavy rainfall, several roadways throughout the City of Fort Lauderdale, including major thoroughfares like Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway near downtown are experiencing high water levels,” Trantalis said on X.

In Dania Beach, there were at least 40 rescues conducted by police and fire crews, CBS News Miami learned.

Periods of heavy rain continued to flood low-lying areas, with poor drainage throughout South Florida.

In Lee County on the Gulf Coast, emergency officials had to rescue at least one driver from floodwaters. Farther north, a possible tornado brought down trees and powerlines in Martin County.

The storms are part of a stalled system that’s pummeled Florida, dumping a month’s worth of rain in just 24 hours, with more rain forecast this week.

A flood advisory remained in effect for Miami-Dade and Broward counties through 10 p.m. The National Weather Service also issued a rare flash flood emergency for portions of southern Broward County and northern Miami-Dade which expired at 8 p.m.

A flash flood warning was also issued for Broward and Miami-Dade.

The National Weather Service warned residents to “move to higher ground now! This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.”

Meanwhile, officials at MIA said at least 221 flights had been canceled and 165 had been delayed so far Tuesday, while at FLL there were at least 261 flight cancelations and 166 delays.

The Florida Panthers were on a three-hour delay at FLL before their flight took off to Edmonton, Canada, for Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Final series.

South Florida officials said pump trucks were either in place or headed to flooded areas where they are needed.

In Broward County, part of I-95 had been closed due to flooding on the highway.

Power outages were also reported across South Florida, and some traffic lights had been affected, making an already dire driving situation even worse for drivers.

Florida Power & Light said there were more than 8,900 customers without power in Miami-Dade County as of Tuesday evening, and another approximately 1,900 without power in Broward County.

Law enforcement was warning drivers in need of a tow to call tow truck companies first if possible, as opposed to immediately contacting police.

This wet, stormy weather pattern will hold in South Florida through the end of the work week, forecasters say, with the tropical moisture dissipating slightly by the weekend. That will leave the region a bit drier, but there will still be a chance for storms, but not nearly as widespread.

Over the past 24 hours, Miami Beach saw nearly 7 inches of rain, Hallandale Beach saw 6 inches of rain, while Hollywood, North Miami and Coral Gables received just over 5 inches.

The 4 to 6 inches of rain that fell Tuesday squashed the rainfall deficit in Miami-Dade County, and put a good dent in Broward’s deficit.

However, forecasters say an additional 4 to 8 inches is possible over the next few days, and flooding risk will continue.

READ 10 COMMENTS
  • THE BALLOON BUFFOON says:

    Oh the weather?? I thought maybe Biden was visiting!!!

  • Walter Jones says:

    Some 20 years ago a native of Florida told me that there were too many people building in areas that traditionally were stayed away from because the day would come when they’d get caught in heavy rains, at that time some 20 years ago Florida was having periods of much less rain than usual.

    • Mike says:

      I was on Ft Myers Beach, in 80, back then they were building where they shouldn’t be building, now look, Condo’s collapsing, Sink holes all over the place, I’d say give it another 50 to 100yrs and it’ll all be under water.

  • Mike M. says:

    It’s not “climate change”, “global warming” or “rising seas”.
    It’s OVERDEVELOPEMENT!
    When you pave over everything, the water has nowhere to go.
    But, they still keep building.
    This is the price you pay for “progress”.

    • Truth seaker says:

      Lived in Ft. Lauderdale/ Coral Springs area from 1972-1975… Flooding was a reoccurring problem back then…(sure it has gotten worse)… I was in my early 20’s,and most of the locals just took it in stride, much like snow days up north… We found some fun with it…The inconvenience only lasted a few days and we were back to somewhat normal… As usual, the media hype and government response is over exaggerated, mostly for their financial gain…

      • Truth seaker says:

        I remember water skiing behind a lifted truck on A1A… The ride was fun, but stopping was a problem…Ouch!!!

  • Barbara C Walsh says:

    How about doing something about the scorching heat and continuous flooding at the Medley Animal Shelter which is part of the slaughterhouse aka Miami Dade Animal Services? This has been going on for years and everyone turns a blind eye to this and the horrific practices that go on there. They are supposed to be caring for the animals entrusted to them, not “euthanize” every chance they get for no reason.

    • Barb N says:

      Sounds like the NYACC in NYC. Go down the chain and blame EVERYONE who breeds dogs and cats, or who, don’t have their pets neutered. Most wind up, at some point, in places like that. Horrible.

  • Barb N says:

    Yeah, there’s man made climate/weather change….caused by all the geo -engineering in our stratosphere.

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