Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flooding forces dozens to Florida shelters

Vicki Desormier in Disaster News Network: Winter is normally the dry season in South Florida. Tell that to the dozens of people flooded from their homes in Broward and Dade counties on Friday. Unseasonable rains pushed waters past overburdened storm drains into the streets, over lawns and into houses. Some reports showed flood waters in downtown Miami where residents walked knee-deep in water.

On Friday afternoon, the Broward County Chapter of the American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Police Department on Federal Highway in Hallandale Beach for those who could not safely return to their homes because of the water. Volunteer Ken Hernandez said that 39 people signed in as soon as the doors opened. More were expected as people returned home to find their homes inaccessible.

“It’s not the kind of devastation we find during hurricanes, but there are a lot of people who either can’t get to their homes because the streets are flooded or who have found water in their houses,” he said. “We are expecting a few dozen more by tomorrow.”

…Hallandale Beach and Aventura, north of Miami, were the hardest hit areas. As much as 14 inches of rain had fallen in those areas as of Friday afternoon. According to Aventura Police Chief Steve Steinberg, more than four dozen cars had been hauled from the streets by noon on Friday. The cars had flooded out and had to be hauled out of the way so they wouldn’t obstruct the roadway….

Image of a 1960 flood on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Some photo research is current, some is not

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