Torrential rain in South Florida on Wednesday led to the first Flash Flood Emergency on record in Broward County, as the extent of the historic flooding in Fort Lauderdale was seen in drone video that showed numerous cars that had been submerged and destroyed by the rapidly rising water.
According to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, more than 25 inches of rain fell in the Fort Lauderdale area on Wednesday. Once confirmed by the NWS, this event would set a new 24-hour statewide rain record.
The previous record of 23.28 inches of rain in a 24-hour period was reported in Key West, Florida.
Drone video recorded in Fort Lauderdale shows numerous cars left abandoned and submerged in the rapidly rising floodwaters along what would typically be a busy street.
No one can be seen in the video, but the blinking hazard lights of the flooded cars give an eerie look to what is likely at least a 1-in-1000-year flooding event.
According to FOX Weather meteorologist Ian Oliver, a 1-in-1,000-year flooding event doesn't mean it will be another 1,000 years before flooding of this magnitude will be experienced in Fort Lauderdale. Instead, it means "one-tenth of 1% is the chance of that happening in any given year," Oliver added.
Emergency declared in Fort Lauderdale due to historic flooding
The city of Fort Lauderdale declared an emergency because of the historic flooding, and first responders have been out in full force, responding to numerous rescue calls.
Fort Lauderdale City Hall has been closed because the facility is without power, and the first floor of the building has been flooded. City officials said the city activated its Emergency Operations Center because of the ongoing situation.
In addition, the flooding forced the closure of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) on Wednesday, and officials say the facility will remain closed until at least noon on Thursday.
Floodwaters also crept into buildings across the region, and videos and photos show water rushing inside.
One photo shows water pouring through the bottom of a glass door, while another video shows a garage door opening, showing the copious amounts of water on city streets.
Just south of Fort Lauderdale, the Dania Beach area saw some of its streets turn into rivers, and further south in Sunny Isles Beach, cars were seen trying to drive through flooded roadways.
More torrential rain is expected across South Florida through the rest of the week, raising concerns of more flooding across the region.
The Storm Prediction Center expects tornadoes, damaging wind and even hail to be possible.
There is a Level 3 out of 5 enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms across parts of southern Georgia and extreme southeastern Alabama. The threat of severe weather will diminish along the Gulf Coast on Friday as the center of circulation pushes into the Carolinas.