Flood Of Trouble In S. Fla., More Rain Possible
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Parts of rain soaked South Florida may have a hard time drying out due to the threat of more rain and possible severe storms.
A Flood Watch remains in effect for Miami-Dade County until Thursday.
Additional rain in already flooded areas like Doral and Sweetwater could make the situation much worse because the saturated ground simply won’t be able to absorb any more water.
It was a bad day for businesses. Many in Doral had three feet of water in their parking lots.
Eric Schigiel owns Opus Stone on Northwest 77th Court, and told us he lost as much as $60,000 in business due to the flooding. He said he had to bring employees to work on a flatbed truck. He added, “All of our employees had their cars flooded and watered in and damaged, so it’s sad that just normal working people have their cars get ruined.”
Cesar Chaigas of USA Tile and Marble also trucked employees in. “Most of them parked at a shopping center a few blocks away and we sent one of our semis to pick them up bring them over here,” he explained. Although customers couldn’t get to the parking lots, he said his employees had to take phone and email orders.
The morning commute proved challenging in Doral as rain water collected and created new canals.
“It’s crazy, I need a boat to get around,” said Diana Counard.
“The truck is no problem. I can go through water,” said driver Joe Triana.
While some trucks did just that, Carmen Camano was not so lucky. She dialed 911 in a panic after her truck started to float.
“Thank God we are okay,” said Camano. “We were coming to buy us some tiles and all the sudden when I made a left the water was okay. But then it just ran so much water it stopped the engine. We kept calling and calling because we got so nervous. The water kept coming in and then the car was going from side to side. Semi-trucks were going by and my car was pulling under them, under the semi. It was so scary.” She explained her car became a boat. “I didn’t have control.”
Tow truck driver Adel Cirrilo, who was very busy on Wednesday, took CBS4’s David Sutta for a ride.
“I don’t want to damage my truck but I’ve got help some people out. That water is pretty much four feet,” said Cirrilo.
While rescuing the stranded, odd things floated by, like a fork lift. He said he’s never seen it this bad.
“Not down here. I saw it down South when Andrew passed,” said Cirrilo referring to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Water managers with the South Florida Water Management District worked hard to deal with the overflow of water.
Water managers started draining the C-4 Canal during heavy rainfall last week. Prior to Tuesday’s rain, the canal was at 3.7 feet above sea level which is the lowest they go. But in a six hour period on Tuesday, the water climbed to 5.2 feet above sea level, just slightly less than the 6 foot level when water starts overflowing from canals.
Crews opened a 900-acre impoundment area just east of Krome Avenue and 8th Street around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday. The C-4 Impound Area can hold a billion gallons of water in an emergency. After moving roughly 200 million gallons of water into the Impound Area in a 12-hour period, the C-4 Canal is now back at 3.8 feet.
“It’s a lot of water. A lot of water. And it’s hard to move that kind of water locally,” said Michael Gallagher from the SFWMD.
This is only the 5th time they’ve used the Impound Area since it was built in 2005. The pumps were turned off Wednesday afternoon.
SFWMD officials said the system performed perfectly but Doral may have taken longer to drain because the water must travel through city and county secondary canals. They said there may have been debris blocking drainage systems or the rain simply fell to hard to fast. SFWMD moves on average about three inches of rain over six hours. Tuesday, three times that came in.
“I don’t know where the finger should be pointed. I just know that our system did what it was intended to do,” stated Gallagher.
On Tuesday, Miami broke a rainfall record. The NWS said they recorded 9.7 inches of rain for the day which broke the old record of 3.44 inches set back in 1901.
Stormy weather is expected to continue into Thursday as moisture and unstable air remain over South Florida.