Published: June 8,2017
Days of heavy rain in South Florida left some residents comparing the floods to tropical systems of the past as roads were closed and flights were canceled.
Nearly two feet of rain fell in some places, and even in a state that's used to big rainfall in a short period of time, there were plenty of problems. Roads were quickly covered in floodwaters and authorities begged residents to stay home. In Ormond Beach, residents remarked to the Associated Press that the road flooding was worse than they've seen in some hurricanes.
"Can’t tell the lake from the road," Davie resident Deborah Ring told WSVN.com. "So, I mean, it’s really scary."
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The heavy rainfall stretched all the way down into the Keys; in Key West, 4.39 inches of rain fell Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, it was the third-wettest June day on record for the island.
Some of the heaviest rain occurred in Marco Island, where the biggest rainfall total was reported to the NWS – more than 23 inches. By Wednesday, the problems were so widespread that every road on the island had flooding. Residents were asked to stay off the roads, if possible.
"We've had patches of floods all over the island," Capt. Dave Baer of the Marco Island Police Department told the Naples Daily News. "What we were concerned about was mass flooding."
Tourists and shoppers also had to deal with headaches caused by the floods. At Broward County's Sawgrass Mills – one of the state's largest outlet malls – numerous cars were stalled or flooded by the standing water Tuesday night, and officials decided to close the shopping center Wednesday, the AP reported.
At Zoo Miami, the park closed early to new guests Wednesday, but those who were already in the park were allowed to stay, a separate AP report said.
Nearly 150 flights into and out of Miami International Airport were canceled Wednesday, and 50 more were canceled at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
Some residents chose to take a lighthearted approach to the soggy situation. In Davie, resident Mike Lemmerman attempted to fish in the floodwaters at the corner of 5th Street and 135th Terrace, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
"Right now I’m fishing high tide," he joked to the Sun-Sentinel. "If I catch something, I’ll have something to talk about."
In some areas, catfish were seen "walking" in flood water and in gutters along the roadside.
Storms Provide Drought ReliefWhile the flooding was troublesome, the storms provided much-needed drought relief for parts of South Florida that have battled abnormally dry conditions for years. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, the two worst drought categories have been eliminated in Florida, and while the drought wasn't squashed completely, this week's rain has the Sunshine State trending in the right direction.
"The heaviest rain fell across a strip of South Florida, clearing much of the area from drought, as well as parts of Florida Panhandle, which hadn't been in significant drought," said weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. "However, a rather large swath of central Florida still has lingering severe long-term drought, despite this week's rain. That should be gradually eaten away as we head into the heart of the state's rainy season."
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