Weather

Floodwaters recede — for now — but more rain on the way

 

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

Don’t put away your umbrella just yet.

Though Tropical Storm Andrea has weakened into a post-tropical cyclone that has moved far up the east coast, its remnants could still be felt today in rain-weary South Florida.

The region could still receive more rainfall on Saturday.

“We’re still expecting some more (rain), especially this afternoon and into this evening,” said Chuck Caracozza, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Miami. “It’s the very tail end of it.”

And Caracozza said it wouldn’t take much to create more flooding “since the ground is so saturated from yesterday.”

Indeed, the city of Hollywood was giving away sandbags in anticipation of more rain.

The sandbags will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Public Works Administration Building, 1600 South Park Rd., while supplies last. Proof of Hollywood residency will be required.

In Aventura, police said they towed 150 vehicles from roadways Friday. By Saturday morning, most of the flooding had subsided, but police urged drivers to use cuation. One street, 29th Place, remained closed due to standing water from 199th Street to Ives Dairy Road.

South Floridians were stranded in flooded homes and businesses Friday as feeder bands from Andrea drenched the area with rain that measured in the double-digits over the course of the day.

The storms dumped water on North Miami, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Dania Beach before and during rush hour, causing dozens of accidents, hundreds of cars stalled out and leaving thousands of commuters sitting in traffic.

Many police departments issued warnings, urging people who were home not to go out. And those already out were stuck for hours.

Mark Sturman, 53, went to Aventura Mall with his son for a 2 p.m. eye appointment, but at 8 p.m. was still there, waiting for the water to subside so they could leave.

“It’s flooded everywhere,” said Sturman, of Plantation Acres. “There are tow-trucks everywhere.”

Sturman and his son Zach passed the time catching The Internship playing at the AMC theater, then having dinner. With rain still falling at 8 p.m., they were considering catching a second movie, but really, they just wanted to get out of there.

“We’ve been here since 2 o’clock,” Sturman said. “We just want to go home.”

Broward Sheriff Fire-Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said the storm knocked out many traffic lights in the county and caused a number of accidents.

“You have to be careful about the water,” he said. “You can’t tell how deep water is by looking at it.”

When streets are flooded, he said, people sometimes drive into canals they can’t see.

Broward sheriff’s deputies found a car entirely submerged at the intersection of Sheridan Street and Southeast Fifth Avenue in Dania Beach about 5:30 p.m., and sent out fire trucks to help Hallandale Beach residents whose homes had flooded.

Hallandale Beach, which recorded 13 inches of rain by 9 p.m., issued an emergency alert warning residents to stay off the roads if possible, and news footage showed streets under several feet of water and dotted with disabled vehicles.

Golden Beach and North Miami Beach each recorded even more rain: 15 inches.

The flooding impact from a far-away tropical system echoed last year’s Hurricane Isaac, which dumped nearly 18 inches of rain in western Palm Beach County while its center was hundreds of miles away in the Gulf of Mexico.

Water managers were monitoring the situation, said Randy Smith, a spokesman for the South Florida Water Management District.

But there wasn’t a lot they could do to speed drainage along the coast.

South Florida’s sprawling network of canals, pumps and gates was largely designed to protect inland suburbs and farms from flooding. Coastal cities, which tend to drain faster naturally, maintain their own storm water systems. Typically, most systems can handle about six inches of water in short periods. Beyond that, streets start to flood.

Smith said the district was trying to hold water in the western areas, helping ease pressure on coastal drainage canals already overwhelmed with runoff.

While the scattered storms are expected to continue Saturday, the weather should improve Sunday. Though, this being South Florida and June, rain showers are always a possibility.

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