2 tornadoes make landfall in Broward; Fort Lauderdale experiences ‘1 in 1,000 year flood’

State of emergency declared in Broward County

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A state of emergency was declared Thursday for Broward County as more strong storms brought the threat of heavy rain, damaging wind gusts, small hail and funnel clouds.

The worst of the weather is expected to occur throughout the afternoon and early evening in Broward, although Miami-Dade County is not fully in the clear.

Main impacts will include heavy downpours leading to localized flooding, damaging winds, small hail up to the size of quarters and a few brief tornadoes.

The National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes touched down in Broward County Wednesday -- one just west of Interstate 95 and north of Sheridan, near TY Park in Hollywood, and the other near Griffin Road, south of the airport and east of I-95 in Dania Beach.

VIDEO: Tornado causes major damage at mobile home community in Dania Beach.


A record shattering 25.91 inches of rain was recorded in Fort Lauderdale, which could take the rainfall record for any Florida city in a 24-hour period.

The last record of 23.28 inches of rain was set in Key West in November 1980 during Hurricane Jeanne.

We had a strong southeast wind Wednesday that hit the coastline and then slowed down and started to turn, so all that wind and moisture piled up and had nowhere to go but up.

Another round of thunderstorms developed early Thursday afternoon and will persist in spots through sunset. Some could contain damaging wind, small hail and an isolated tornado. A few pockets of rain could produce 1-3 inch totals with some isolated areas seeing up to 4 inches of rain.

The flooding in Fort Lauderdale has been deemed a “1 in 1,000 year flood,” meaning there is just a .1 percent chance of it happening in any given year.

Ahead of the county-wide state of emergency, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis declared a state of emergency overnight “in light of the extreme flooding.”

The city of Dania Beach also declared a state of emergency Thursday before the county-wide declaration was made.

“City Hall, the beach, the pier, and all parks will be closed today,” a spokeswoman for the city said in a news release. “Crews are currently assessing streets, City facilities, and infrastructure citywide to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors. We are urging residents to stay off the streets if possible.”

For information on flood safety and insurance, visit daniabeachfl.gov/flood. Residents can also print the Dania Beach Flood Flyer at https://tinyurl.com/bdfmr72k for additional information.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said Broward County has not requested assistance from the state at this time, however, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has deployed the following:

  • FDEM has deployed staff to support local efforts, including collecting damage assessment data in Broward County.
  • FDEM Director has been in contact with the Broward County Emergency Management Director and the Fort Lauderdale City Manager to offer further support and coordinate future damage assessments.

The state of emergencies come after Broward County firefighters worked overnight to evacuate people from their flooded homes.

“As the sun rose Thursday morning after Wednesday’s deluge of rain, firefighters were still responding to weather-related emergencies throughout Broward County,” Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Kane said in an email Thursday.

The fire department released video that shows firefighters responding to some of the hardest hit neighborhoods by boat since fire trucks and ambulances were having trouble getting through the flooded streets.

The video shows firefighters going door-to-door in waist deep water, evacuating residents and reuniting pets with their owners.

WATCH: Broward firefighters help rescue people from flooded neighborhoods. (Video courtesy: Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue).

“Firefighters responded to several hundred weather-related emergencies over the past thirty-six hours -- mostly to assist stranded motorists when their cars became stuck in high waters,” Kane said.

He said some of the hardest hit areas they responded to were in the cities of Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach and the low-lying areas surrounding Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

WATCH: Sky 10 over flooding in Broward County

Drivers are advised to turn around if they see flood waters.

On Wednesday, over 12 inches of rain fell over Broward Boulevard, leaving it looking like a lake and stranding drivers.

Over 17 inches of rain fell near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and over 7 inches on the Turnpike over parts of Griffin Road, Sheridan Road and Hollywood.

Friday will be similar. The morning will be mostly dry, but more afternoon spotty thunderstorms could be slow movers.

WATCH: Sky 10 flies over Miami Lakes/Hialeah after a day of heavy rainfall.

VIDEO: Flooding along Hollywood Blvd. and 12th Ave.

About the Authors:

Brandon Orr joined the Local 10 News team in 2018.

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.