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Cities in search of effective flooding mitigation strategies learn from Tropical Storm Eta

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Roy Coley said other cities in South Florida can learn from Miami Beach.

The Miami Beach Public Works director said the barrier island city’s strategies, which included raising streets in some neighborhoods, helped to avoid major flooding during Tropical Storm Eta.

“We elevate to get above the ocean and then we build underground pipes and pumps to manage the stormwater,” Coley said.

Coley is proud. He wants every official who is struggling with how to manage flooding during storms to come to the city to see exactly how they did it.

Severe flooding leaves drivers, residents stranded in Brickell
Severe flooding leaves drivers, residents stranded in Brickell

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was concerned about flooding on Brickell Avenue in the city’s financial district. He said he had yet to see Brickell Avenue perform well during a storm. This time, the main pump in the area was undergoing repairs.

The city has spent about $200 million on a resiliency plan that includes installing pumps and raising sea walls, but not street levels.

“Raising streets it solves a problem and it sometimes creates another problem,” Suarez said.

Sky 10 over horses standing in muddy water in Southwest Ranches.
Sky 10 over horses standing in muddy water in Southwest Ranches. (WPLG)

In western areas of Miami-Dade and Broward, the challenge is different. The local canals that are designed to drain water out to sea were overwhelmed. Water managers had pumps running at full blast but it was a losing battle with more than 18 inches of rain in some areas.

Raelin Storey, a spokesman for the city of Hollywood, said there is a regional coalition of cities and counties that are really devoted to finding effective strategies to prevent flooding.

“Tens of millions of dollars will be invested in the next decade,” Storey said. \

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Local 10 viewer picture of effects of Eta in South Florida.


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