South Florida

Major thunderstorms lead to flooded South Florida streets

sknapp@miamiherald.com

Locals help a motorist by pushing his car through the flooded street. Several inches of rain fell in S. Florida causing massive flooding through the streets of Little Haiti near the Little Haiti Cultural Complex on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015.
Locals help a motorist by pushing his car through the flooded street. Several inches of rain fell in S. Florida causing massive flooding through the streets of Little Haiti near the Little Haiti Cultural Complex on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Howling winds and pouring rain Saturday afternoon soaked swaths of South Florida, flooding streets and keeping drivers indoors

Heavy thunderstorms and winds whipping up to 50 mph began shortly after 10 a.m. and continued through the afternoon in Broward and Northeast Miami-Dade.

Downtown Miami, Liberty City, Midtown Miami, Miami Beach, Opa-locka, North Miami Beach and Hallandale communities saw up to 6 inches of rain.

In the afternoon, the National Weather Service declared a flood advisory for both Broward and Miami-Dade until 1:30 p.m. It was later extended to 6:15, warning of an excess of 8 inches of rain.

Sunday is expected to be less severe: partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon.

On Biscayne Boulevard, nearly a foot of water from Northeast 22nd Street to 36th Street stalled cars in the middle of the road, a National Weather Service employee reported.

Most of far Northeast Miami-Dade County was flooded in by Saturday afternoon, with entire neighborhoods under water.

Ives Dairy Road, the main artery into Aventura — and its iconic mall — was under several inches of rainwater, and eastbound traffic was being funneled into one lane in the center of the roadway, which slowed traffic to a crawl throughout the area. Both Skylake and Highland Lakes, neighborhoods between Northeast Miami Gardens Drive and the county line to the north, and west of West Dixie Highway, were under several inches of water.

The approach into Highland Lakes from Ives Dairy road was badly flooded, and a U.S. Postal Service truck was disabled and abandoned in the middle of the guard gate, leaving residents trying to leave the neighborhood mostly stranded. One car parked on the swale of 207th Street was submersed in water well above the wheelwells, and water lapped well past the sidewalks.

On Northeast 19th Avenue, one of a few main arteries in Skylake, several smaller cars had been abandoned in the road, making the north-south artery largely impassable.

Parts of Northwest Miami-Dade were warned against street flooding as well.

By 2 p.m., some storms had reached north, bringing with them flood warnings for Palm Beach County.

In Palm Beach Gardens, strong winds swept through the Honda Classic golf tournament and sent players and fans scrambling for safety.

The winds, estimated up to 60 mph, were strong enough to topple tents and even knock over the iconic manual scoreboard, located on a platform on the lake near the 18th hole.

Play in the tournament was called at 12:51 p.m.

Carol Marbin Miller and Bill Van Smith contributed to this report.

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