DORAL, Fla. – There were nearly 15 inches of rain in three days. The storms turned this May into the wettest on record. With 18.89 inches it surpassed the 1968 record of 18.54 inches. And it just five hours, it created nightmarish flooding for business owners in areas of northwest Miami-Dade County.
The warehouse district in the city of Doral remained flooded on Thursday. Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, the former mayor of Sweetwater, said the area was a brownfield, an urban planning term used to described land used for industrial or commercial purposes with known or suspected pollution.
“It was a dump,” Diaz said, adding the area lacks the infrastructure it needs to deal with flooding. “I know these systems as good or better than anybody else.”
Diaz said a combination of rainfall, drainage and canal levels caused the severe flooding. Diaz said the South Florida Water Management could have done more to prevent the damage. The agency started lowering the canals Friday.
“They did not lower the canals in time,” Diaz said. “If the canals systems are full and the rain comes, the water can’t go into the systems so there comes the flooding.”
Armando Villaboy, a spokesman for the South Florida Water Management, said in five hours there were nine inches of rain in Sweetwater, Doral and Hialeah.
“The way it works is if you can’t get the water into our canals, we can’t move it either, so part of it is drains,” Villaboy said. “Are those drains functioning? Can they handle the volume?”\
Local 10 News Weather Authority contributed to this report.