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After the storms, weekend is looking better

After a soggy, gloomy, crash-filled Friday, the weekend weather is looking up.

Forecasters say the sun will make a few cameo appearances Saturday. And Sunday looks to be clearing and hot, but still with a chance of afternoon storms.

That’s still a welcome change after Friday’s day-to-night storms jolted Broward and North Miami-Dade with lightning and thunder before dawn. Blinding rain continued through the morning commute, and cars slid and crashed into each other on I-95, the turnpike, I-595, the Palmetto and just about every other highway in South Florida.

The afternoon and evening was just as messy as people headed home from work in another round of rain.

Anticipating a deluge, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch that lasted from dawn to midnight. Forecasters added a tornado watch in South Miami-Dade for the afternoon.

But all that appears to be in the rearview mirror.

Saturday is “going to be more of a transition period, back to a dry pattern on Sunday,” said Alex Gibbs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami-Dade.

High temperatures on Saturday and Sunday will hover near 90, with lows overnight in the mid-70s.

Friday’s bad weather came little more than a week after another deluge that swamped several cities in West Miami-Dade. So this time, when the rains came, those cities took no chances.

On May 22, the combination of 7.21 inches of rain and drainage construction — which required drains to be covered — flooded several areas in Sweetwater, said city spokeswoman Michelle Hammontree-Garcia. She also blamed lack of communication between Sweetwater and South Florida water managers over the opening of floodgates.

Because Friday’s rain was less intense, Sweetwater had more time to respond, she said. During last month’s rain, “you couldn’t even see five feet ahead of you.”

Randy Smith, spokesman for South Florida Water Management, said communication was clear about managing last month’s flood.

In preparations for the inclement weather, South Florida Water Management adjusted canal levels so they can take in more storm water. It also sent boats through canals to make sure there is no debris that would prevent a steady water flow.

“We’ve pretty much done all our pre-hurricane check,” Smith said.

Doral, which had extensive flooding recently, also took precautions. The city asked the Florida Department of Transportation to make sure drainage isn’t clogged, Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez said.

“It is important to note that we did not have nine inches of water in a few hours, like we did last week — an anomaly that may occur every 50 years,” he said.

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