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Miami Beach residents hope new pumps handle floodwaters

City looks to see how pumps will perform once highest tide of month meets Erika

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – There are some known truths about South Florida summers,"It's really, really hot," Miami Beach resident Olga Archie said.

"It's going to rain every day, every afternoon, for sure," and South Florida native Lenny Vidal knows routine storms pack a punch, "It rains. It comes, it goes, but every summer it's guaranteed for sure."

For those who live in Miami Beach, street flooding was a way of life.

"In the past, it was a disaster," Vidal said. "You couldn't drive Alton Road."

"When the rain comes, area used to be flooded out, but no more," Archie said. "We don't have it flooded any more."

The change Archie has witnessed from her apartment balcony, a stone's throw away from Alton and Tenth is a multimillion dollar project.

At last year's King Tide in October, Miami Beach had two operating pumps in the West Avenue and Alton Road area. Three new ones are on board in that same area as of this week.

It's a close to $400 million 5-year program with additional pumps in the works. For instance 8 pumps are planned for the Flamingo neighborhood.

"The change is better. It's better. It comes up, but it goes away pretty fast," Archie said.

"Now it looks great, and it rained all day and it's great," Vidal said.

The question Saturday night is how the pumps will perform once the highest tide of the month meets Erika and its anticipated heavy rainfall.

While residents have seen an improvement, city officials will be keeping a watchful eye on the rainfall, the tide and the promise of the pricey pumps for a flood-free new normal.

"I hope all the money they pumped into the system that it works. That was the whole point of it," Vidal said.

"It used to be bad but now it's pretty good so you can live."

"And you hope it stays that way?" asked Local 10 News' Christina Vazquez.

"I hope it stays that way, yes, forever," Archie said.

Heavy rain is expected. City officials said they have portable pumps and generators on standby, resources residents hope won't need to be deployed.

Follow Christina Vazquez on Twitter @CallChristinaTV

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10