South Florida battles with aftermath of heavy rainstorms, widespread flooding

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – As South Florida residents and visitors faced a relentless storm, unleashing heavy rain and whipping winds throughout Thursday, the storm’s aftermath revealed a region grappling with the impact of widespread flooding and the damage that it has caused.

Sky 10 flew over many neighborhoods in Miami-Dade and Broward counties Thursday, where many cars were stranded and homes flooded.

The aftermath of Wednesday’s heavy rainfall resulted in road closures and led Broward County Public Schools and Broward College to cancel classes on Thursday and after-school activities on both days.

As the wet, windy weather continued to slam South Florida Thursday, heavy flooding continued to overwhelm neighborhoods throughout South Florida.

Sky 10 flew over the scene of Hollywood Beach Friday where cleaning crews were trying to restore the city’s broadwalk after it was hit with serious beach erosion.

While some residents in Hollywood are able to begin their cleanup, others like residents from Paradise Village in Davie are still waiting for their flooded neighborhoods to dry.

“If it rains today, it is just going to go back up. You just have to wait for it to completely drain,” said Davie resident Zeiad Ghuneim.

A Local 10 News crew was in Wilton Manors Friday morning, where pools and puddles were bubbling with contaminated water needing to be drained.

Broward public schools were reopened on Friday despite Broward Superintendent Peter Licata saying that multiple schools throughout the county were experiencing flooding in its school parking lots.

Licata said moving forward, school employees and personnel will be canvassing schools to assess any damage or water intrusion.

He also stated that some schools in the county remain flooded.

At Robert Markham Elementary School in Pompano Beach, many teachers and students had a hard time accessing their classrooms as the flooding continued Friday morning.

Local 10 Meteorologist Jordan Patrick said Fort Lauderdale has measured 101 inches of rainfall so far in 2023, the average amount at this point of the year is just under 57 inches.

This means that Fort Lauderdale is currently running 44 inches in a surplus for the year, almost four feet above normal levels.

In Miami-Dade County, Local 10 News heard from residents who were trapped inside their homes due to downed trees and debris from strong wind gusts.

In northeast Miami-Dade, the once completely flooded streets are now visible but it’s the puddling and saturated ground still serving as a reminder of the downpours that swept through the area Wednesday.

“The water was seeping in through the flooring,” said Miami-Dade resident Yindra Velazquez. “It took about three hours and in about three hours we had about five inches of rain inside of the house.”

Velasquez provided Local 10 News with video that shows the tiled floors inside of her home covered in nearly five inches of rain that destroyed many of her personal belongings and damaged her washer, dryer and ruined her floors.

“All the baseboards are going to have to come out the flooring is going to have to be replaced in the rooms,” she said.

Meanwhile, in Homestead, flooded farms caused a lot of frustration for farm owners and residents.

Betty Osceola from the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida spent her Thursday in a canoe, surveying the flooded areas and assessing potential damage to the Everglades before the Army Corps of Engineers decided to open their flood gates due to the heavy rain.

As of 6 p.m., Thursday over 24,000 residents were without power in Miami-Dade County. In Broward County, over 11,000 residents were without power.

While the worst of the rain has moved offshore, lingering light rain is expected throughout the day. Cleanup efforts are to come once the rain subsides as debris litters the roads.

As South Florida copes with the aftermath, gradual improvements in weather conditions are anticipated, but the impact of the storm remains significant.

Residents are advised to stay off flooded roads unless necessary, never drive through high water and turn around to avoid dangerous conditions.

Anyone experiencing a power outage should call FPL directly at 1-800-468-8243.

About the Authors:

Ryan Mackey is a Digital Journalist at WPLG. He was born in Long Island, New York, and has lived in Sunrise, Florida since 1994.

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.