Flooding begins to recede along A1A
Fort Lauderdale Beach, South Beach businesses begin to dig out
The water is beginning to recede in South Florida after five days of fierce waves and sand-filled streets.
Monday night businesses began to dig out and open their doors again, and traffic was flowing a little more smoothly. By Monday evening crews were able to contain the mess along Sunrise to one side of the street, opening everything south to Las Olas.
But the weather trifecta has taken a toll on the area.
First, a strong westerly wind is pushing more water towards the coast. Second, there is a very high tide in effect due to a full moon. And third, the wake of Hurricane Sandy is pulling away from our coastline.
As crews pump out the puddles in the underground parking lot of a Sunny Isles Beach Condo, Jack Jerusalim explained why the water is lapping at his car's tires.
"It's coming up right to where the natural habitat is, going through the sand and then seeping into the garage," said Jerusalim.
It's no wonder the saltwater has taken over the beach as the stretch of sand looks half its normal size.
Other workers are located at the back of the condo, building a trench to slow the flow of floodwaters into the parking spots.
"We're trying to block the water from the ocean to stop going in the lower garage because we're getting flooding over there," said Andre Briscoe.
Even the Haulover Marina looks more like a lake as the dock space is submerged and barely visible.
"It's not great boating weather, no," said Dan Riemer.
Reimer has been boating his whole life and he understands the weather phenomenon taking place right now.
"The moon is so full and it's drawing the tide in and then you got the waves out there bringing the water into the inlet. This is what you end up with," said Riemer.
Hugh Willoughby from the Earth Sciences Department at Florida International University sees this beach erosion and coastal flooding as a weather coincidence where all the elements collided at the same time.
"Nobody owns waterfront real estate. You just kind of lease it from the ocean and sometimes your lease expires," said Willoughby.
High tide happens again on Monday about 10 p.m.
High tide takes over A1A
High tide took over A1A in Fort Lauderdale Beach on Monday.
The roadway has been closed from Sebastian Street north to NE 20th Street since Sunday. Access to Fort Lauderdale Beach from E. Sunrise Boulevard was also closed.
Waves crashed into a sand barrier built on the beach and spilled onto the street.
"You can actually hear the waves breaking over the tops of these dunes. That's how big they are," said one driver.
"It's really scary and I feel so bad for the people who live along this stretch on A1A who can't even leave their homes," said Pam Butler. "I have friends sending me videos of people kayaking and paddle boarding down A1A."
"I brought some family members from out of town out to see the beach. It's kind of a little rough right now," said John Whitt.
Whitt said a family fishing trip was cancelled, leaving him and his family with less to do.
"Usually, you can walk right down and put your hands in the water and stuff, but I don't recommend that today," said Whitt.
Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue Chief Breck Ballou said he has seen plenty of high tides, but none quite like this.
"The shape is similar -- like, we will get a really nice swell with a cold front, but the size was unbelievable this weekend," said Ballou. "Twenty-five years I've been here, I've never seen anything this dramatic."
"I've never seen it so high before. It's insane," said Taylor Kosa.
The water closed some roads, but others, like East Las Olas Boulevard at Coral Way, were open to drivers willing to brave the water.
"My car stalled out as I was just driving through. It's kind of low to the ground. Water is up to the door," said Brian Sheehan. "I'm hoping in the next hour or so my car will dry out and I will be able to continue on."
The peak of high tide is expected between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Crews hope to have A1A cleaned up by Thursday.
Water slowly recedes on South Beach
On South Beach, the water that spilled onto roadways slowly began receding about noon Monday.
"There was an article from a couple weeks ago talking about these astronomical, seasonal high tides that are related to the moon, and I'm thinking to myself, 'What? What is this?'" said Chad Maddox. "I got up and looked -- 6th floor of my building -- and I looked down and it was like, wow, this is the craziest thing I've ever seen."
Maddox is relatively new to Miami Beach, but to even those who have seen past October full moon tides rise into the streets were surprised at the levels. At 10th Street and Alton Road, water was nearly knee high at some points on Monday.
"She was outside and it's flooded. It's like really up to your knees," said Kathy Sanz, who works at a bakery. "In the morning when the cars came by, we had to put sandbags and everything."
Sanz said one customer asked her to come outside.
"She called, she's like, 'I'm -- can you come outside? I have a delivery order because,' and she started laughing, 'Ha, ha, ha, ha. Cause I have really expensive shoes on,'" said Sanz. "It's been worse today than any other day."
Traffic was backed up on the MacArthur Causeway as eastbound 5th Street at Alton Road was heavily flooded most of the morning.
Miami Beach city officials expect flooding to last through Tuesday, based on reports by the National Weather Service. Cones and closed lanes helped people maneuver the streets safely besides years of storm water improvement projects.
"We'll build these huge catch basins that go underground and the water then drains into that, kind of like a giant bathtub," said Nannette Rodriguez with the City of Miami Beach. "And, then we get pump stations that pump that water then out."
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