Florida’s 2024 hurricane season is coming with torrential rain

Dangerous flooding from a tropical disturbance inundated much of southern Florida on Wednesday, blocking roads, floating vehicles and delaying the Florida Panthers’ trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs in Canada against the Edmonton Oilers.

The irregular storm system pushed from the Gulf of Mexico across Florida at roughly the same time as early June of the hurricane season, which this year Prediction that will be very active Amid concerns that climate change is increasing storm intensity in recent memory.

Once it crossed Florida and emerged into the Atlantic Ocean, the disturbance did not reach hurricane status, according to the National Hurricane Center, giving it only a small chance to develop into a tropical system.

“Regardless of development, heavy rain will continue over parts of the Florida peninsula over the next few days,” the hurricane center posted on its website Wednesday.

Many roads were flooded and vehicles became impassable. On Interstate 95, a major artery in Broward County, southbound traffic was diverted around the flooded area and contractors were on their way to pump out the drainage system, the Florida Highway Patrol said in an email. The interstate train will not reopen until the water is drained, the agency said.

The Miami Weather Service office issued increasingly severe warnings.

“Life-threatening flooding continues now,” Service X said on social media. “Please stay off the roads and get to higher ground.”

Mayors in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood declared states of emergency for their cities Wednesday afternoon. Late Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Broward and Miami-Dade on Florida’s Atlantic coast and Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties on the state’s west coast.

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Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava also declared a local state of emergency.

“Due to the current heavy rainfall, many roads throughout the city of Fort Lauderdale are experiencing high water levels, including major thoroughfares such as Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway near downtown,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said in X.

In nearby Hollywood, Mike Wiesel was driving home with his dog Humi Wednesday afternoon when he was caught in deep flooding on a low-lying street, he told the Miami Herald.

As he slowed to a stop, Vissel said other cars passed him, sending more water into his vehicle. His engine broke down.

“I’ll leave my car,” he told the Herald, but his dog “has a water problem.”

In Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, there were already puddles of water Wednesday morning in the lobby of the building Alfredo Rodriguez moved into a year ago. He told the Miami Herald that the building has flooded five times since he moved in.

“It surprised me. I want to leave this place in the next three months. It’s terrible. I can’t even pull the car over,” he said of the flooded streets.

Dozens of flights were delayed or canceled at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The NHL’s Florida Panthers were delayed more than three hours leaving Fort Lauderdale for the nearly six-hour flight to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Further north, the National Weather Service in Melbourne confirmed an EF-1 hurricane struck Hope Sound on Wednesday morning north of West Palm Beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

The wind downed several banyan trees and caused some damage to a store, Martin County Fire Rescue officials said. No injuries were reported, but the access road to the rich Jupiter Island was cut off by debris.

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Already a wet and blustery week in Florida. In Miami, 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell on Tuesday and 7 inches (17 centimeters) fell in Miami Beach, according to the National Weather Service. Hollywood got about 5 inches (12 centimeters).

In addition to Tuesday’s rain, 9 inches (23 centimeters) fell in parts of South Florida between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel, noted in the X. .

“We’re in trouble,” McNoldy wrote.

More rain was forecast throughout the week, leading the Weather Service office in Miami to extend a flash flood watch through Thursday. Another 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain is possible in some places.

The western part of the state has a large portion of it A long drought, got some big showers too. The weather service says nearly 6.5 inches of rain fell at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on Tuesday, and flash flood warnings are in effect for those areas as well.

Forecasts predict an unusually busy hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has estimated an 85% chance of an above-average Atlantic hurricane season, predicting 17 to 25 named storms, including 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes, in the coming months. An average season has 14 named storms.

There was Fort Lauderdale Hard hit in April 2023 with rainfall totals ranging from 15 inches (38 centimeters) to 26 inches (66 centimeters). Many houses and business premises were flooded.

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Associated Press sportswriter Stephen Vaino in Edmonton, Canada and Freida Frisaro in Cooper City, Florida contributed to this story.

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