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Major flooding in South Florida shuts down a major airport and puts roads underwater

Floodwaters shut down Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for several hours early Monday.
Across from Aventura Mall, drivers waded through several inches of water as they tried to navigate small lakes that had formed in a Publix parking lot and the nearby intersection of Northeast 29th Place and 199th Street. [AARON LEIBOWITZ | Miami Herald]

Miami Herald

Floodwaters shut down Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for several hours early Monday, blocking access to the passenger terminals on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

But perhaps just as important to early risers: Impassable parking lots and surrounding streets delayed the 5 a.m. opening of a Hollywood Starbucks for those craving their caffeine.

The Broward airport eventually reopened before 7 a.m., but not before more than 100 flights were delayed for many eager to get to their holiday destinations. Severely flooded streets followed a beat-down of heavy rain in the area from midnight into the early morning hours.

The Starbucks, just east of I-95 on Sheridan Street, eventually reopened, too, although the lots and the Park Road area remained underwater past 11 a.m.

While the waters recede, flooding still took a toll on a swath of South Broward and Northeast Miami-Dade. Water seeped into homes and businesses along the U.S. 1 corridor, a parking garage sloshed with deep water at Aventura Mall, and Gulfstream Village was an island beyond its flooded surface lots and horse stables.

Across from Aventura Mall, drivers waded through several inches of water as they tried to navigate small lakes that had formed in a Publix parking lot and the nearby intersection of Northeast 29th Place and 199th Street.

Some were unsuccessful. Ronen Navoni of Aventura said his girlfriend was on her way to work at the mall when she tried cutting through the Publix lot to avoid flooding on the street. Her small red Ford got stuck, forcing them to flag down a tow truck that was already helping other drivers in the area.

A few feet away, a man stood in knee-deep water and pushed his car to higher ground. Minutes later, another mid-size car stalled as it sloshed through the intersection nearby.

But the biggest flooding fallout was at Broward’s major airport.

“FLL has reopened, and flight operations are resuming. There are roadway delays due to this morning’s flooding,” the airport said in an update shortly before 6:30 a.m. “Plan accordingly by allowing extra time and contact your airline for the latest flight status.”

Passengers were allowed to enter the terminals about an hour before the airport resumed flights. In the early-morning hours, flooding blocked passengers from the main airport entrances, and flights were delayed.

Just after 10:30 a.m. Monday, the Broward airport had 113 flight delays but no canceled flights.

On Sunday night, before the flooding, the Broward airport reported that 152 flights were delayed and 11 were canceled because of storms. Miami International Airport had 11 arrivals and three departures delayed because of the weather, according to an airport spokesman.

Forecasters said that by 5 a.m. Monday, the Broward airport had seen between six and eight inches of rain in the past 24 hours.

All-night rain also flooded streets south of the airport, along the U.S. 1 corridor in Hollywood, Dania Beach and Hallandale Beach in South Broward. Local police departments warned drivers to stay away.

But video posted by Total Traffic Miami at 7 a.m. showed cars trying to navigate through a flooded A1A in Hollywood, with some appearing to get stranded.

The National Weather Service in Miami says forecasters saw a widespread three to six inches of new rainfall in Northeast Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward overnight. The highest amount of rain was recorded in the area around Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and in Hallandale Beach.

A video posted on Twitter by Joel Franco, a South Florida social media news influencer, showed significant flooding in the area next to the Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, 901 Federal Hwy. in Hallandale Beach. A man in a kayak can be seen rowing pass several halfway submerged buildings.

The region remains under a flood advisory through Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The advisory, covering Southeast Broward and Northeast Miami-Dade, was extended to 5:45 p.m. because floodwaters have been slow to recede.

“The water should recede over the next few hours,” according to the weather service.

The weather also left 10,000 customers in Miami-Dade and 7,200 customers in Broward without power Sunday night, according to Florida Power and Light. By 9:40 a.m. Monday, 2,500 customers in Miami-Dade and 150 customers in Broward lacked power, said a FPL spokesman.

The rain, which started after midnight, will ease through the day and make way for cooler temperatures Monday evening, with temperatures dipping to the low-60s.

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