FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will remain closed until at least 9 a.m. Friday due to severe flooding in and around the facility.
#Travel Alert ( Update No. 8): Please note that #FLL is now slated to remain closed until 9AM on Friday, April 14,2023. The delayed timeframe is to accommodate final daylight inspections to determine the airfields’ readiness to resume safe flight operations. #SafetyFirst— Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int'l Airport (FLL) (@FLLFlyer) April 13, 2023
The announcement comes a day after the Federal Aviation Administration issued ground stops on flights due to severe weather at the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports.
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FLL officials say the closure will allow for crews to “restore partial operations on one runway, providing current conditions do not worsen.”
“In order for us to have aircraft operations, we have to have clean taxiways that serve the runway, so that is our priority right now, trying to get those clean,” said Broward County Aviation Dept. COO Michael Nonnemacher. “But they still have standing water as well.”
Travelers are asked not to come to the airport at this time.
The airport’s upper level (departures) roadway reopened early Thursday morning to allow travelers to be picked up by family or friends.
The entrance to the lower level (arrivals) remains closed.
Travel alert (Update No. 6): FLL’s upper-level (Departures) roadway is reopening to allow airport travelers waiting for family/friends to pick them up to do so as the traffic exiting the airport is almost cleared. The entrance to the lower-level (Arrivals) road is still closed.— Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int'l Airport (FLL) (@FLLFlyer) April 13, 2023
Some drivers reported being stuck in their cars Wednesday for upwards of six hours due to the roads in and out of the airport being flooded and closed.
Significant flooding was reported near the FLL arrivals area.
#TravelAlert No. 5. Please note that #FLL is now expected to remain closed until at least noon (12PM) on Thursday, April 13, 2023. The entrance roadways are still closed until further notice. Roadway updates will be provided as more information is available... pic.twitter.com/tu02MavaeJ— Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int'l Airport (FLL) (@FLLFlyer) April 13, 2023
The water also made its way inside the airport. Staffers did their best to try and push it back outside, but it was a futile effort to some extent since there was nowhere else for the water to go.
Some passengers told Local 10 News that their flights were rebooked for Thursday afternoon, but airline employee’s told them they couldn’t guarantee whether those flights would get delayed even further.
“They sent me an email saying we can take off at 1 o’clock, so hopefully we’ll go out at 1 o’clock,” one man said earlier in the morning, adding that he doubted they would be able to leave at 1 p.m. because there was just too much water on the tarmac.
Another passenger told Local 10 News reporter Saira Anwer that she has been waiting at the airport since 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s insane,” she said. “On the other side, we could see the tarmac was flooded. The little trucks that would fly through, all the water was coming up.”
Pumping mechanisms are in place at the airport, but the runways are still flooded.
“We have nowhere to pump this water out,” said Broward County Mayor Lamar Fisher. “We have the pumps available to us, but we don’t have the ability to pump the water because there’s nowhere (for it) to go.”
Many travelers have left the airport, but some people are staying in place.
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