Louis Nicosia hugged his pet emu, Eunice, as they waded through knee-deep water that was once their Davie backyard.
“It keeps coming further and further,” said Nicosia, 67.
Nicosia was one of hundreds of Broward County residents who’ve experienced thigh-deep flooding since heavy rains — more than a foot of water in some places — snarled South Florida over the past two days.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
While some worried about flooded streets, soggy yards or getting out their homes, Nicosia said his animals were his main concern. Aside from Eunice, Nicosia's family has dozens of exotic birds, snakes and chickens who’ve been uprooted from their flooded pens.
“The scary part about it is that it's supposed be raining for another eight days, supposedly. I don't know what we're going to do,” he said. “I can't leave my animals.”
His wife, Phyllis Nicosia, shouted from inside the house: “I'm not going down with the ship!”
High water in the nearby Western Hills mobile home park in Davie encroached residents' front doors, prompting the Davie Fire Department to call in the Red Cross. Red Cross spokesman Roberto Baltodano said around 50 families will require assistance.
The Red Cross opened a reception center at Western Mills for families to receive water, snacks and information about storm preparedness. Baltodano said the agency also will make shelter available for families who may need it.
“It's hurricane season,” he said. "It's just getting started."
Some took it in stride. Spotted in the neighborhood were kayaks, rowboats, children playing water polo and plenty of iPhone selfies.
“We can't leave, so we're playing,” said Gerardo Diego, 13. “It's almost like a jacuzzi.”
Farther down the road lives Julie Brown, who said she remembers a torrential storm in 1979 that flooded their backyard, which had horses and cows at the time.
“This is the worst I've seen since then,” said Brown, 75. “We just have to hunker down and deal with it.”
Brown, 75, said her biggest concern is the water-saturated trees that line her backyard: “If we get a big wind, those trees are going to go. But with the grace of God, this will all be gone in a couple days.”
Brown's front driveway is in better shape than the back, so she allows neighbors and friends who live on impassable streets to park there.
“We're like the refugee house,” she joked.
James Merrittsaid this is the worst flooding he's seen since his move in 2013.
A small lake behind his home has started to flood the driveway, where several cars are parked in inches of water.
“If that lake overflows, we're going to be in a world of hurt,” said Merritt, 38.
Thursday’s chances of rain hover around 40 percent, with more rain expected this weekend. Friday's full moon could also affect the tides and the flooding.