MIAMI — South Florida awoke Thursday to downed trees, roads closed due to debris and flooding, homes taking on water and massive puddles everywhere. Tens of thousands of homes were without power.
The cause? A no-name storm, one that swept the region over two days and dumped up to 14 inches of rain in some spots, with gusts as high as 75 mph at Government Cut and Port Everglades. The damage was enough to rival some tropical storms that have swept the region in recent years, according to the National Hurricane Center. And it even showed a broad area of circulation on radar as it rolled past South Florida early Thursday morning.
Senior Hurricane Specialist Robbie Berg said that although the center tagged the storm as a low worth watching, it did not officially meet the definition of a tropical depression or tropical storm. That’s because the system had a ridge of cool air, also known as a frontal boundary, attached to it that left parts of Miami in the 60s overnight after the rain swept through.
“One of the hallmarks of a tropical system is that it cannot have frontal boundaries attached to it,” he said. “If it does, it’s extratropical.”
Named or not, Wednesday night’s storm clearly was a whopper for some parts of South Florida. Broward County closed its schools for the day, and the Henry E. Kinney tunnel in Fort Lauderdale was closed.
The runways at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were swamped again, the second time this year. Even into Thursday night, taxiways were still flooded over.
It was a mess but did nowhere near the damage of the “rain bomb” that swamped Fort Lauderdale with nearly 26 inches in a 12-hour period in April.
Social media accounts of downed trees on homes and cars, along with flooded homes, piled up Thursday.
The Miami office of the National Weather Service reported a “palm tree split down the middle” in Oakland Park. And as of 10 a.m., nearly 90,000 customers were without power in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, according to Poweroutage.us.
Utility companies brought a vast majority of those without power back online — about 32,400 were still without power as of 7:30 p.m.
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