The Miami region has been grappling with the aftermath of severe flooding caused by torrential rains that began earlier this week. Residents remain worried as more rainfall is forecasted to hit parts of Florida this weekend.

By Dieudonné Joachim

NORTH MIAMI BEACH—The Miami region has been grappling with the aftermath of severe flooding caused by torrential rains that began earlier this week. The unrelenting downpour has caused significant property damage, including damage to infrastructure and utilities, disrupted daily life and posed serious risks to residents. The situation remains critical and worrying, particularly in South Broward and North Miami-Dade counties, with more rain forecasted for the weekend.

Since the rains began on Tuesday, the Miami-Dade and Broward counties have experienced over 20 inches of rainfall in some areas. The recorded amount of rain has led to widespread flooding, submerging streets, homes and vehicles.

Communities are coming together to support those affected, but the challenges ahead are significant. Residents are urged to stay safe, follow official guidance and support each other during this difficult time. States and local authorities have deployed resources to help the victims and to limit the damage. However, gloomy weather continues to haunt people in the most impacted areas of South Florida.

North Miami’s streets in the morning of Friday, June 14, 2024, after three days of rainfall and flash flooding. Photo by Dieudonné Joachim for The Haitian Time

Given the extent of the damage and the safety risks to residents, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade and Sarasota counties. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean J. Trantalis also declared local states of emergency. Hundreds of emergency personnel, including firefighters, police and medical teams, are working tirelessly to assist residents and manage the crisis.

North Miami and North Miami Beach City Halls and all other facilities in hard-hit areas were closed on Thursday. Officials have also shut down all area parks and canceled all community programming, including summer camps.

It is not over yet; many Haitians in vulnerable Miami areas are still worried.

Residents are pleased that no fatalities have been recorded yet. However, concerns over substantial property damage and more rainfall forecasts continue to worry them.

The flooding has also had a significant economic impact on the region. Businesses have been forced to close, leading to a loss of income for many workers. The tourism industry, a vital part of Miami’s economy, has also been affected, with numerous flight delays and cancellations reported at Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

“The whole area is flooded, and I fear it will take ages for insurance companies to address the influx of claims.”

Rose Aimé Jean, North Miami Beach Resident

Johane Domond Cadet nearly drowned Thursday evening on the streets of North Miami Beach. “My car was moving slowly through the water,”  she said. “I convinced myself that I could continue on my way. The imprudence almost cost me my life.” 

“The car engine stopped working at a certain point, and the car immediately filled with water,’ said Cadet, still in shock. She added, “As time passed, my feet became immobile, and I stared death in the face. I was able to reach my phone and call the emergency services. And the firefighters arrived immediately to extricate me from the car.”

Like thousands of others in North Miami Beach, Cadet has not been able to go back to work. Her vehicle has been stuck on the road behind a long line of broken cars. 

Until Friday night, numerous North Miami residents’ homes were still flooded. “I’m trying to start with the cleaning work, and the rain starts again,” lamented Rose Aimé Jean, fearing losing her submerged car. “My economic situation, which was already difficult, is now further complicated by this flood. I am lucky the water did not reach my living room and the bedrooms. But my garage, where I keep the dogs and the washing machine, is in a pitiful state,” she stated.

She also voiced concerns about insurance companies’ response time. “It’s disappointing,” she exclaimed. “The whole area is flooded, and I fear it will take ages for insurance companies to address the influx of claims.”

Marie Charlie Colin was on her way to pick up her son from a summer camp program when her car submerged and its engine stopped running. “The street was like a giant lake, but I thought I could get through because I was driving a strong SUV. Before I knew it, the vehicle was almost completely underwater,” she told Go West Now. “Thank God! I jumped out quickly and swam away from the chest-high water pool as the car got deeper into the torrent. Many people in my neighborhood have their homes flooded.”

In North Miami, Andre Benjamin was lucky to park his car somewhere out of reach of the water. However, everything is not rosy for him. “The water still manages to enter the living room, especially with the waves created by the cars making their way through the pond formed in front of the house.”

Updates and safety tips from Miami-Dade County

The National Weather Service predicts an additional 4 to 8 inches of rain over the weekend, with some areas potentially seeing up to 10 inches. Residents in the hardest-hit areas, including Aventura, Surfside, Bal Harbour and parts of North Dade, are urged to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.

Authorities advise residents to exercise caution, avoid flooded areas, and avoid attempting to drive through standing water. Emergency services are on high alert and ready to respond to any further incidents. Flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where rainfall rates of several inches an hour submerged streets and snarled traffic.

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