South Florida rain: Flash flood watch extended as heavy rain forecast for Miami

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP) — A tropical disturbance brought a rare flash flood emergency to much of South Florida, delaying flights at the state’s two largest airports and leaving vehicles submerged and parked on some of the region’s low-lying streets.

“Sounds like the beginning of a zombie movie,” said Ted Rico, a tow truck driver who spent much of Wednesday night and Thursday morning helping to clear the streets of stranded vehicles. “Cars are littered everywhere, on sidewalks, in the median, in the middle of the street, with no lights on. Just crazy, you know. Abandoned cars everywhere.

Rico, of One Master Trucking Corp., born and raised in Miami, said he is prepared for emergencies.

“You know when it’s coming,” he said. “Every year it’s getting worse and for some reason people are going through puddles.”

Matthew Koziol, Matias Ricci, Manuel Ricci and Raúl Fernández sail a boat through a flooded street on North Bay Road in Sunny Isles Beach, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Commuters across the region were scrambling to adjust their plans Thursday morning. Parts of South Florida have received up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain since Tuesday, with more expected over the next few days.

Ticket and security lines snake around a domestic crowd at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport around noon Thursday. Travel boards showed half of the terminal’s flights had been canceled or delayed.

A cyclist rides through flooded streets on Stirling Road near Federal Highway in Hollywood on June 12, 2024.  (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

A plane takes off at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on June 12, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Matthias J. Ochner/Miami Herald via AP)

People try to cross a flooded street in Miami Beach, Fla., Wednesday, June 12, 2024.  (AP via Al Diaz/Miami Herald)

People try to cross a flooded street in Miami Beach, Fla., Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP via Al Diaz/Miami Herald)

Navy Petty Officer Bill Carlisle was trying to catch his morning flight to Norfolk, Virginia. He arrived at Miami International Airport around 6:30 a.m., but 90 minutes later he was in line and realized he couldn’t check his bags and get through security in time to catch his flight.

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“It’s a zoo,” said Carlisle, a public affairs specialist. He spoke for himself, not for the Navy. “Nothing against the (airport) staff – that’s all they can do.”

So he used his phone to book an afternoon flight out of Fort Lauderdale. He took a shuttle 20 miles north and found the flight cancelled. He was now on a 9pm flight back to Miami, hoping it wouldn’t be canceled by heavy rain expected later in the day. He was resigned, not angry.

“A long day sitting in airports,” Carlisle said. “It’s par for the course for government travel.”

Wednesday Rain and subsequent flooding Blocked roads, floating vehicles and even Florida delayed the Panthers On their way to the Stanley Cup playoffs in Canada against the Edmonton Oilers.

An irregular storm system moved across Florida from the Gulf of Mexico at nearly the same time as early June during the hurricane season, which this year Prediction that will be very active Recent memory comes amid concerns that climate change is increasing storm intensity.

Once it crossed Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean, the disturbance did not reach hurricane status and was given only a small chance to develop into a tropical system, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hector Guifaro climbs onto the front of his vehicle to avoid a flooded street in front of the St. Edwards Apartments in Edgewater on NE 23rd Street in Miami, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.  (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Hector Guifaro climbs onto the front of his vehicle to avoid a flooded street in front of the St. Edwards Apartments in Edgewater on NE 23rd Street in Miami, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

In a post early Thursday on the National Weather Service social media site X in Miami, heavy rain is expected for the region for the third day in a row.

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“Even a little heavy rain can cause massive flooding!” The post said.

Mayors in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood declared states of emergency for their cities Wednesday afternoon. Late Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Broward and Miami-Dade on Florida’s Atlantic coast and Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties on the state’s west coast.

A plane is seen on the runway after heavy rains hit Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  Many flights are canceled or delayed due to bad weather.  (AP via Mathias J. Ochner/Miami Herald)

A plane takes off at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on June 12, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Matthias J. Ochner/Miami Herald via AP)

James Rodriguez talks with his wife, Diana, after a flight to Cancun was canceled at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport due to heavy rain across South Florida, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  /AP via Miami Herald)

Passengers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 12, 2024.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava also declared a local state of emergency.

To the north, the National Weather Service in Melbourne confirmed that an EF-1 hurricane struck Hope Sound Wednesday morning, north of West Palm Beach, Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Martin County Fire and Rescue officials said the wind downed several banyan trees and caused some damage to a store. No injuries were reported, but the access road to the rich Jupiter Island was cut off by debris.

Already a wet and blustery week in Florida. In Miami, about 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell on Tuesday, with 7 inches (17 centimeters) in Miami Beach, the National Weather Service said. Hollywood got about 5 inches (12 centimeters).

More rain was forecast throughout the week, leading the Weather Service office in Miami to extend a flash flood watch through Thursday. Another 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain is possible in some places.

The western part of the state has a large portion of it A long drought, got some big showers too. Sarasota Bradenton International Airport received nearly 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) of rain on Tuesday, the weather service said, and flash flood warnings were in effect for those areas as well.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Hollywood, Fla.  (Matthias J. Ochner/Miami Herald via AP) Jim Comunale and Pam Mervos walk down Arthur Street as heavy rains flood surrounding neighborhoods.

Jim Comunale and Pam Mervos walk down Arthur Street in Hollywood on June 12, 2024.

A "For sale" A flooded area of ​​Holiday Acres Mobile Home Park in Florida, Fla., on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. The annual rainy season has arrived in much of Florida as tropical weather sweeps in from the Gulf.  Mexico's streets have triggered flooding and hurricane watches, but so far no major damage or injuries have been reported.  (AP via Al Diaz/Miami Herald)

A sign is placed in a flooded area of ​​the Holiday Acres Mobile Home Park in Hialeah, Fla., on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Forecasts predict an unusually busy hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates an 85% chance of an above-average Atlantic hurricane season, predicting 17 to 25 named storms, including 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes, in the coming months. An average season has 14 named storms.

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Associated Press sportswriter Stephen Vaino in Edmonton, Canada and Kurt Anderson in St. Petersburg, Florida contributed to this story.

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