PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The National Weather Service canceled a flood watch for coastal areas of Miami-Dade and Broward late Thursday night and issued a flood warning for the Fort Lauderdale metro area to be in effect until 8 a.m., on Friday — since flooding remains even despite the heavy rain coming to an end.
Evening showers flooded many Fort Lauderdale streets that were passable earlier Thursday, so Fire Rescue personnel and police officers were having to use boats, buggies, and high-water vehicles to respond to calls for help, city officials reported late Thursday night.
The flooding also forced police officers to close the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel, also known as the New River Tunnel since it carries U.S. Route 1 underneath the river and Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale, according to officials.
There will be a 40% chance of rain and a possibility of spotty downpours on Friday, but it will be far from the torrential rain that Broward County experienced on Wednesday. The chance of rain will reduce to 20% on Saturday and increase to 40% on Sunday and 50% on Monday.
Broward County officials declared a state of emergency to help distribute aid. Broward County Public Schools closed on Thursday and Friday with a plan to reopen on Monday. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport closed Thursday and was set to reopen on Friday morning.
A low-pressure system that was over Mississippi on Thursday afternoon was to blame for the severe weather on Wednesday. Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach also declared a state of emergency amid what officials described as “unprecedented flooding” that caused property damage.
The system caused a record-shattering 25.91 inches of rain on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, which could take the rainfall record for any Florida city in a 24-hour period. It was a “1 in 1,000-year flood,” meaning there is just a .1% chance of it happening in any given year. The last record of 23.28 inches of rain was set in Key West in November 1980 during Hurricane Jeanne.
Two tornadoes touched down: One was just west of Interstate 95 and north of Sheridan Avenue, near TY Park in Hollywood, and the other near Griffin Road, south of FLL and east of I-95 in Dania Beach.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management started to deploy crews to help assess the damage that the low-pressure system left behind in Broward County.
Watch the Thursday night forecast
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