MIAMI – The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for South Florida starting Friday night and going through Tuesday.
That is for Tropical Storm Eta, which strengthened Saturday morning and has winds gusting as high as 60 mph.
Forecasters predict some areas could receive 6-8 inches of rain with isolated areas receiving up to 10 inches. Isolated tornadoes will also be possible, mainly on Sunday and Monday.
South Florida has been placed under a Hurricane Watch in anticipation for the pending storm.
A Wind Advisory, meanwhile, has been issued for coastal Broward and Miami-Dade counties. This could be extended as Tropical Depression Eta moves closer to the Sunshine State.
According to the NWS, hazardous marine conditions could briefly subside on Friday before deteriorating once again this weekend. Eta has moved back over Caribbean waters and is forecast to move northward into the Florida Straits or the southeast Gulf of Mexico this weekend.
Some residents in Fort Lauderdale began preparing early Friday.
“The city called and said they were giving free sandbags,” Judy Thomas said. “You’re hesitant because we’re having the storm that’s coming in and I wanna be prepared.”
Thomas said after she experienced flooding from heavy rain earlier this fall she’s not taking her chances this time around.
Fort Lauderdale resident Kim Watson had a similar story.
“The last flood, the last one we just had, came inches away from the door,” she said. “I couldn’t take it. I was like, ‘OK, we’re gonna be ready this time.’”
The sandbag distribution at Mills Pond Park started at 7 a.m. Friday and will continue until 5 p.m. or until they’re out of sand. There’s a 10 bag limit per car.
Fort Lauderdale leaders say they’re working to accommodate excessive rainfall in the city, and they’re asking for the public’s help.
“If they see storm drains that are clogged or debris, they need to call the city and we will take care of that right away,” Fort Lauderdale spokesman Mike Jachles said. “That’s a priority for us right now.”
In Miami-Dade County, Mayor Carlos Gimenez spoke about the pending storm during a Saturday morning press conference, and that video can be seen below:
Elsewhere in Miami-Dade, sandbag distributions were happening in Hialeah Gardens and Doral.
Doral experienced some flooding already on Thursday, and area business owners said they’re getting creative with ways to keep the water out.
Miami-Dade officials said transit operations will stop three hours prior to winds reaching 39 mph and drawbridges will go on lockdown 8 hours prior to winds reaching 39 mph.
Drivers are encouraged to stay off roads during severe conditions.
Officials said crews will work quickly to clear debris from storm drains.
“Typically, it’ll go to areas where you need additional pumping, so sometimes we’ll use mobile pumps over at the water conservation areas just to get more water out at a certain time,” said Armando Vilaboy, of the South Florida Water Management District.
Below is a list of sandbag distributions that are being held throughout South Florida:
· Friday, Nov. 6 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until supplies run out: Fort Lauderdale, Mills Pond Park, 2201 N.W. 9th Ave. Limit 10 bags per car. Fort Lauderdale residents only.
· Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Doral Central Park, 3000 NW 87th Ave. Next to Downtown Doral Park, shovels are available on site for self service.
· Saturday, Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Opa-locka Public Works and Utilities Department, 12950 NW 42nd Ave. Opa-locka residents only.
· Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Veterans Park, 7600 NW 50th St. in the northeast corner of the parking lot. Lauderhill residents only, please bring your own bags.
· Sunday, Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until supplies run out: 13601 NW 107th Ave., Hialeah Gardens. Limit up to 5 bags per car. Hialeah Gardens residents only.
Visit Local 10′s Weather Authority Page to get the latest forecast.