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Pedestrians try to stay dry Wednesday in Miami Beach, Florida, as rain floods the area.
More than 2 million people in South Florida face the risk of dangerous flash flooding early Thursday morning, as heavy rains continue to pound major metropolitan areas, already flooding some roads and forcing school closures.
Parts of Miami-Dade County could experience severe, life-threatening flooding, the National Weather Service warned, issuing a flash flood warning in the northern and central parts of the county. The Miami and Fort Lauderdale metropolitan areas are under alert until 6 a.m. Eastern Thursday, according to the local National Weather Service.
“Drainage will be difficult in many coastal areas due to high tide. Flash flooding is underway or expected to begin shortly,” the Miami Weather Service warned.
In addition to the rain that has already soaked the area, 1 to 4 inches of rain is possible in areas where the Flash Flood Warning is active.
Southeast Florida is hardest hit, with rainfall totals expected in double digits. Areas around Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the southwest Florida Keys could see 48-hour rainfall totals approach 10 inches.
As of Wednesday evening, Miami was drenched with 6.73 inches of rain in the previous 24 hours, while Hollywood received 5.62 inches and Fort Lauderdale recorded 4.2 inches of rain during roughly the same period. , according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service.
Broward County Public Schools canceled classes and closed administrative offices Thursday due to safety concerns, the the district said on its website. Broward College in Fort Lauderdale will close its doors Thursday for the second straight day this week due to flooding, the school said online.
Meanwhile, in Lauderdale Lakes, located in Broward County, gusty winds toppled a tree and destroyed two cars, CNN affiliate WSVN reported Wednesday.
Spiro Marchelos, the owner of Anglers Beach Cafe, gave his employees the day off due to the conditions.
“It’s a loss of revenue, but we have no choice,” he told the outlet. “The weather is bad and people won’t come to the beach today. It’s windy, it’s raining and the streets are flooded.
As of Wednesday evening, more than 20,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida, according to the outage tracking website. Poweroutages.us.
There is a slight risk of excessive precipitation, Level 2 of 4, along the east coast of Florida, beginning early Thursday morning and continuing throughout the day, according to the Weather Prediction Center. A marginal risk of excessive precipitation, Level 1 of 4, exists over Southeast Florida through Thursday.
Parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties – where Fort Lauderdale is located – saw 3 to 6 inches of rain Tuesday and expect Another 8 to 10 inches through Thursday. Three-day precipitation totals exceeding a foot are not ruled out in these areas.
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Fort Lauderdale has already had an unusually wet year, and this week’s rains will likely be enough to push the city into record territory. As of Wednesday morning, the city had recorded 100 inches of rain this year, just below its wettest year on record – 102.36 inches in 1947.
And now Greg Brandenburg of Fort Lauderdale is preparing for the worst.
“We’ve had so much rain this year, it’s crazy,” he said. WSVN. “Now we have this rain situation again. It’s just tiring.
The torrential Precipitation rates and accumulation totals through Thursday in Southeast Florida will result in “a higher likelihood of flash flooding issues in the urban corridor to the Florida Keys, north of Marathon,” according to Weather Forecast Center.
Saturated ground and ongoing major tides could slow water retreat in coastal communities that are inundated this week.
CNN meteorologists Derek Van Dam and Robert Shackelford contributed to this report.