Threat for severe weather now over for South Florida

Damaging wind gusts were main threat of Thursday's storms

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The threat for severe weather is over for Broward and Miami-Dade counties and the Florida Keys.

Storms have pushed over the Atlantic waters. Leftover showers, however, will continue to dampen some South Florida neighborhoods Thursday night.

The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm watch for all of South Florida until 9 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm watch is issued when weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms.

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The severe thunderstorm watch included Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, as well as the Keys.

Authorities confirmed a downed power line caused a power outage Thursday afternoon at a Walmart at 1800 S. University Drive in Miramar.

It's unclear whether high winds caused the power line to snap, but the outage also affected the traffic light at the intersection of Pembroke Road and University Drive and left hundreds of customers without power. 

Miramar police were forced to direct traffic at the intersection for hours until Florida Power & Light crews could repair the power line. 

Minor urban flooding, damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes were possible as the storms passed through South Florida.

Local 10 News meteorologist Brandon Orr said the moisture from Thursday's humidity fueled the line of storms.

"Damaging wind gusts are going to be the main threat with these, but we could get an isolated tornado and some short-term urban flooding," he said. 

Local 10 News chief certified meteorologist Betty Davis said gusty storms moved into the western suburbs of Broward County shortly before 6 p.m. However, the storms were not considered severe at the time. 

And just before 7 p.m., a line of strong thunderstorms were pounding Miami-Dade County, Homestead included. Lightning, heavy rain and gusty winds all swept through the area. 

Below are some tips for drivers from Miami-Dade County officials to stay safe during a storm.

  • Do a Pre-Trip Inspection: Before leaving any vicinity, make sure that the following is in good condition and working properly:

           o    Windshield wipers
           o    Headlights
           o    Tires
           o    Brakes

  • Turn Your Headlights On: When it’s raining and visibility is insufficient due to weather conditions, turn on your vehicle’s headlights to help decrease the chances of an accident.
  • Slow Down: Speeding during inclement weather can cause your car to hydroplane or skid. Also, keep enough space between you and the vehicle in front. This allows you more time to react if something occurs.
  • Pull Over: If you feel uncomfortable with the weather conditions, pull over onto the shoulder of the road until it calms down.
  • Avoid Flooded Areas: While driving, try to avoid areas with flooding and large puddles. If you are unable to avoid puddles, drive slowly and afterwards dry your breaks off by pressing on them gently and slowly.

Lightning is also a major issue during storms, so Miami-Dade County officials warned the public to take the following steps to avoid being harmed: 

  • 30-30 Rule: Use the "30-30 Rule" when you see lightning by counting until you hear thunder. If the time is 30 seconds or less, seek shelter immediately because it indicates that the storm is close enough to be a threat.
  • Avoid Trees: Don’t stand under or near an isolated tree or a group of trees.
  • Avoid Being the Tallest: When outside, avoid being the tallest object, for it makes you more susceptible to being struck by lightning.
  • Unplug What You Don’t Need: Unplug all the unnecessary appliances. Any electrical equipment or cords should be avoided. Furthermore, avoid contact with corded phones and devices plugged into wall outlets for recharging.
  • Avoid Telephones: Unless it’s an emergency, avoid using a telephone during a storm.
  • Stay Away: Keep your distance from windows, doors, patios and porches.
  • Avoid Water: Stay away from water or any vessel in the water (boat, etc.).
  • Get Indoors: Seek shelter in a sturdy building and avoid buildings in open areas. If you can’t find shelter, get inside a hard-topped automobile and keep the windows up.
  • Avoid Plumbing: Don’t shower or take a bath during a storm. Stay away from any bathroom or plumbing fixture.
  • Be Wary: If you feel your skin tingling or your hairs are standing on end, that means lightning is about to strike. Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet and place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Try to make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground—don’t lay on the ground.
  • Call 9-1-1 if someone is struck by lightning.

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About the Authors:

Betty Davis is the chief certified meteorologist for Local 10. She provides weather forecasts for South Florida Monday-Friday during the 4, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. 

Brandon Orr joined the Local 10 News team in 2018.