Florida Flood Threat: Rainfall totals likely in the double digits

Florida Flood Threat: Rainfall totals likely in the double digits

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Pedestrians try to stay dry in Miami Beach, Florida, on Wednesday as rain drenches the area.


Heavy rain and strong winds caused power outages in South Florida metro areas and led to school closures Thursday.

Overnight flood warnings ended early Thursday, but South Florida could see periodic light rain during the day, especially along the East Coast.

A flood watch affecting millions across Southeast Florida has ended, but watches remained in place for nearly 1.5 million people along eastern Florida into the evening. High wind advisories were also issued across southern and eastern Florida, with 60 mph wind gusts expected in some areas.

As of about 7 a.m., more than 125,000 Florida homes and businesses were without power, with Miami-Dade County accounting for more than half of those outages, according to Poweroutage.us, which tracks outages.

Although heavy rain moved off the southeastern coast of Florida on Thursday morning, the rain was still affecting areas where the soil was already saturated.

“Drainage will be difficult in many coastal areas due to high tides. Flash flooding is continuing or expected to begin soon,” the Miami Weather Service warned.

Southeast Florida is taking the brunt of the hit, with rainfall totals expected to approach double digits. Areas around Fort Lauderdale, Miami and southwest into the Florida Keys could see 48-hour rainfall totals approaching 10 inches.

By Wednesday night, Miami had received 6.73 inches of rain over the past 24 hours, while Hollywood had received 5.62 inches and Fort Lauderdale had seen 4.2 inches of rain over roughly the same time 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 district said on its website. Broward College in Fort Lauderdale will close Thursday for the second straight day this week due to flooding, the college said online.

Meanwhile, in the Lauderdale Lakes area, located in Broward County, winds downed a tree and damaged two cars, CNN affiliate WSVN reported on Wednesday.

Spiro Marcellus, owner of Anglers Beach Cafe, has furloughed his staff due to the circumstances.

“It’s a loss of revenue, but we don’t have a choice,” he told the outlet. “The weather is bad, and people will not come to the beach today. It is windy and rainy and the streets are flooded.”

There is a slight risk of heavy rain, Level 2 of 4, along Florida’s east coast starting early Thursday morning and continuing throughout the day, according to the Weather Prediction Center. There is a marginal risk of heavy rain, Level 1 of 4, over Southeast Florida through Thursday.

This is coupled with a high wind warning in effect for coastal areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties until 1 p.m. Thursday. Wind speeds could reach 60 mph, increasing the risk of widespread power outages.

Watch this interactive content on CNN.com

Parts of Palm Beach County and Broward County, where Fort Lauderdale is located, were affected 3 to 6 inches of rain is expected to arrive Tuesday An additional 8 to 10 inches through Thursday. Three-day rainfall totals of more than a foot are not out of the question in these areas.

Fort Lauderdale has already had an abnormally wet year, and this week’s rainfall will likely be enough to push the city to a record high. As of Wednesday morning, the city had recorded 100 inches of rain this year alone Just shy of its wettest year on record – 102.36 inches in 1947.

Now Greg Brandenburg of Fort Lauderdale is preparing for the worst.

“We’ve had so much rain this year, it’s crazy,” he told WSVN. “Now we’ve got this rain situation again. He’s just tired.”

Heavy Rainfall rates and total accumulations through Thursday across Southeast Florida will bring “a greater potential for flash flooding concerns within the urban corridor down to the Florida Keys north of Marathon,” according to the Weather Prediction Center.

Saturated ground and persistent tides could slow the receding waters in flooded coastal communities this week.

CNN meteorologists Derek Van Dam and Robert Shackelford contributed to this report.

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