Overnight record-breaking rain in South Florida — expected to taper off by Friday afternoon — had traffic backed up during the morning rush hour and streets flooded during one of the busiest tourist weekends of the year.
The rain, which had broken the single-day record in Miami for a Dec. 4 by almost half an inch by early morning, caused street flooding on Miami Beach, parts of South Miami-Dade and north into Aventura as crowds got ready to take part in Art Basel.
By 8:30 a.m., Miami International Airport had received more than 3.5 inches of rain, breaking the old record by three-tenths of an inch with the entire day to go.
“That tells you it's abnormal for this time of year,” said Steven Ippoliti, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
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Ippoliti said a flood advisory will remain in Miami-Dade, from Goulds to the Broward County line, until Saturday morning, though he expects the rain to steadily decrease into Friday afternoon.
An advisory means to expect urban flooding and general nuisance on the roadways, he said.
Miami and Miami-Dade police said the rain hadn't caused any unusual hardship by 9 a.m. Friday morning other than chaos on the roadways.
“The only thing is, it's a headache because of all the traffic from the arts festival,” said Miami police Detective Freddie Burden.
There were some issues in Miami Beach on Collins Avenue between 17th and 18th Street last night, said city spokesperson Nannette Rodriguez, but there are no complaints this morning. There are worries that some flooding may occur during high tide, which happens around 3:30 p.m. today.
“We have crews on standby ready to deal with problems throughout the day,” she said.
The sudden rainfall was caused by a cold front cascading down from the midwest that hit South Florida’s warm weather. Most of it is expected to blow out to sea by Friday afternoon.
Joey Flechas contributed to this report.