MIAMI (AP) — It’s bad enough for gloomy weather to ruin to the sun for visitors to the Sunshine State, but heavy rains in south Florida have also ruined the shopping.
Xuanwu Jin, a 34-year-old tourist from Shanghai, told the Miami Herald (https://goo.gl/w3egwi ) on Wednesday that he was trying to return some clothing before returning to China on Thursday, but the parking lot was flooded at Sawgrass Mills mall.
“I guess I can try to sell it when I’m back in China,” he said. “It’s my last chance today.”
Heavy rains and flooding are common in Florida during hurricane season, which began last week, but some residents think the current flooding is particularly bad. Weather officials reported that 10 or more inches of rain have fallen across parts of south Florida this week, and the National Weather Service tweeted that additional rainfall appeared to be on the way for Miami-Dade County and in parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Ormond Beach resident Ken Luks told the Sun Sentinel (https://goo.gl/jWMFem ) that he and his wife walked through flooded streets Wednesday morning to help get his 91-year-old mom back home. Luks said his mom told him the roads are the most flooded they’ve ever been, even worse than during some hurricanes.
“It was an adventure,” Ken Luks said. “No one got hurt. Everyone seems to be taking it in stride, even my mom at 91.”
The weather service reported that as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, 10.23 inches (26 centimeters) of rain had fallen over the previous 48 hours in Sunrise, where Sawgrass Mills mall is located. Many cars were stalled and stranded in the mall’s parking lot on Tuesday evening.
Monica Birney, 45, told the Herald that she and her son attempted to walk to Target from their nearby apartment Wednesday morning when they encountered barricaded roads and flooded parking lots.
“We could swim to Target, but we ain’t got our suits,” Birney joked.
In nearby Davie, west of Fort Lauderdale, officials recorded 10.28 inches (26 centimeters) of rain over the 48-hour period. Weston recorded 11 inches (28 centimeters) in that same time period.
Davie resident Mike Lemmerman cast a fishing line into the knee-deep water near the Sunshine Village mobile home park.
“Right now I’m fishing high tide,” Lemmerman he told the Sun Sentinel. “If I catch something, I’ll have something to talk about.”
Lemmerman also put up a sign reading “Slow, no wake” in front of his home.
“This gives waterfront property a whole new meaning,” he said.
Another resident, Dario Tavan, expressed frustration with the poor drainage that allowed the water to rise so high.
“I don’t understand why there doesn’t seem to be any drainage here,” Tavan told the Sun Sentinel as he rode his bicycle through the water. “You can see the grates, but they’re not doing anything.”
On Tuesday, Fort Lauderdale set a rainfall record with 4.78 inches, (12 centimeters), which broke the previous record of 1.96 inches (5 centimeters) set in 1926. In West Palm Beach, the 4.18 inches (11 centimeters) broke the record of 3 inches (8 centimeters) set in 1904.
Storms were also making their way to the western side of the state. Roads in the Naples area, located on the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles (161 kilometers) west of Fort Lauderdale, were also being closed because of flooding.
Officials at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had 298 delays and 11 cancellations due to rain on Tuesday. Miami International had 37 delays and five cancellations.
Zoo Miami announced on social media Wednesday afternoon that it was closing its doors to new guests, though people already in the park were allowed to stay.
Weather service officials cautioned drivers to avoid going through flooded streets and to slow down as they are driving in heavy rain. Their tweets carry the hashtag #turnarounddontdrown.
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