South Florida Quickly Floods as Eta Lands

'It was far worse than we could’ve ever imagined,' resident says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 9, 2020 6:00 PM CST
South Florida Quickly Floods as Eta Lands
Fort Lauderdale residents walk a flooded street to reach their homes Monday.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

A deluge of rain from Tropical Storm Eta caused flooding Monday across South Florida's most densely populated urban areas—stranding cars, flooding businesses, and swamping entire neighborhoods with fast-rising water that had no place to drain. The system made landfall in the Florida Keys and posed a serious threat across South Florida, which was already drenched from more than 14 inches of rain last month. "Never seen this, never, not this deep," said Anthony Lyas, who has lived in his Fort Lauderdale neighborhood since 1996. He described hearing water and debris slamming against his shuttered home overnight. After striking Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane and killing nearly 70 people from Mexico to Panama, the storm moved into the Gulf of Mexico early Monday near where the Everglades meet the sea, the AP reports, with maximum sustained winds of 50mph.

"It was far worse than we could’ve ever imagined, and we were prepared," said Arbie Walker, a 27-year-old student whose Fort Lauderdale apartment was filled with 5 or 6 inches of water. Floodwaters also submerged half of his sister’s car. Randi Barry, 36, woke up to flooded streets outside her home in Fort Lauderdale and joined her neighbors in helping people whose cars were stuck in high water. "There are a lot of people with their doors open, getting furniture up to higher ground and trying to get water out of their homes," Barry said. "Everyone is helping each other out a lot." As much as 16 inches of rain damaged one of the state's largest COVID-19 testing sites, at Miami-Dade County’s Hard Rock Stadium. Throughout the pandemic, it has been among the busiest places to get a coronavirus diagnosis. The site was expected to be closed until Wednesday or Thursday. (ETA could leave, then return to South Florida.)

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