UNITED STATES NEWS

Florida floods: Businesses, residents begin cleaning up mess

Apr 14, 2023, 5:01 AM | Updated: 6:52 pm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Workers at one of Fort Lauderdale’s landmark restaurants spent Friday tearing out carpeting and original hardwood floors, both ruined when 8 inches (0.25 meters) of water poured inside two days earlier.

Old Heidelberg was among numerous businesses and residences affected by turning streets into rivers.

While it started raining on Monday, much of the water fell Wednesday, and the Fort Lauderdale area saw record rainfall amounts in a matter of hours, ranging from 15 inches (38 centimeters) to 26 inches (66 centimeters), the National Weather Service said.

Stephan and Yvonne Liebe said they had never experienced a flood like this since they bought Old Heidelberg 16 years ago, even during hurricanes and tropical storms. The German restaurant sits at the entrance to Fort Lauderdale’s Edgewood neighborhood, the city’s hardest-hit area.

“It came through every door, even the emergency doors,” Yvonne Liebe said.

She said the inundation was made worse by the city’s decision not to close the main highway that runs in front and slightly above the restaurant; the passing traffic created waves that threw water into their building.

The Liebes have flood insurance — although they are anxious about how quickly they’ll get compensated — and hope to reopen sometime next week.

By Friday, the water level in Edgewood had receded about a foot from the day before but was still up to 2 feet (.6 meters) deep in some spots as residents tried to clean up.

Newlywed Tatiana Rodriguez pointed to the spot a foot above the floor where the water rose inside the one-room rental she shares with her husband, Joseph. The patio they share with other boarders and use to enter their home remained underwater.

The bridal tiara from their marriage last month is still hanging on the headboard of their bed. When the water started gushing into their home Wednesday night, they went outside and found foot-high cinder blocks that they used to prop the bed up.

“The only thing we think about is, ‘Save the bed,’ because if we don’t have the bed we will have to leave,” Tatiana Rodriguez said as she swept debris. “We are lucky because we can stay.”

Hayden Wooster spent two days driving Edgewood’s streets in his large pickup truck, helping people get to and from their homes. He said he was able to help two people with medical devices leave their home after firefighters in a small boat couldn’t, and also evacuated a family with two disabled daughters.

“Grabbed them, grabbed their wheelchairs and got them to the hotel,” said Wooster, an attorney.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shut down Wednesday evening as the storm dumped more than 2 feet (60 centimeters) of rain. Airport officials completed final inspections after sunrise Friday and resumed operations at 9 a.m. By the afternoon, airport operations were slowly returning to normal, but the almost two-day closure was still affecting some passengers.

One of them was Michael Clement, a Baptist minister from Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Clement’s congregation, which he has served for 40 years, paid for him and his wife, Ariel, to visit their son, a missionary, who lives with his wife and three children in Sao Gabriel, Brazil, a small town in that nation’s deep south.

They set out Thursday, flying Southwest to Denver in hopes of catching a flight from there to Fort Lauderdale, where they would board a Friday night flight to Brazil. When the flight to Fort Lauderdale was canceled, they flew to Orlando instead, then drove about 200 miles (321 kilometers) in a rental car to reach the airport.

That’s where Clement sat on the floor Friday playing sudoku 10 hours before his flight — after first taking a taxi into the city to get a COVID-19 test he didn’t know he needed to fly on Azul Airlines.

The headaches had to be endured; the connecting flight they will catch in Brazil to Sao Gabriel is only scheduled twice a week and the tickets can’t be exchanged.

“We just plodded through it. The airline, Southwest, treated us very well,” Clement said.

Airlines were forced to cancel more than 650 flights at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Thursday, according to FlightAware.com.

On Fort Lauderdale Beach, the three-day Tortuga Music Festival kicked off Friday afternoon, headlined by Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Jake Owen and Shania Twain. The “rain or shine” event left many ticketholders out of luck once the airport closed.

Amber Borkoski of Baltimore, Maryland, purchased festival tickets six months ago and had planned to travel to Fort Lauderdale to celebrate her friend’s birthday. But Southwest canceled her Thursday night flight from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale, and festival officials told her that no refunds were available.

Borkoski said she understands that some things, such as weather events, are beyond the festival organizers’ control, but added, “It’s hard to swallow also losing money.”

Stephan Liebe, the Old Heidelberg owner, noted that the National Weather Service called this a 1-in-a-1,000-year storm.

“I could live with that – but can I get that in writing?” he joked.

___

Associated Press reporter Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

United States News

Associated Press

National Folk Festival to be held in Mississippi’s capital from 2025 through 2027

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s capital city has been tapped to host the National Folk Festival from 2025 through 2027. The free, three-day festival is set to be held in downtown Jackson during the second week of November in each of those years and will feature music, art, dance and food from cultures throughout the […]

9 minutes ago

Associated Press

Savannah police arrest suspect in weekend shootings that injured 11 in downtown square

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A suspect has been arrested in connection with an outbreak of gunfire that injured 11 people last weekend at a public square in the heart of Savannah’s downtown historic district, police announced Wednesday. William Anthony Mitchell, 20, was charged with four counts of aggravated assault as well as possessing a firearm […]

48 minutes ago

Associated Press

NAACP fund seeks to close Black voter registration and turnout gaps ahead of the November election

WASHINGTON (AP) — The NAACP on Wednesday announced that nonprofits engaged in a variety of voter-engagement efforts can apply for grant funding that helps local organizations register voters, boost turnout and guard against minority disenfranchisement. The leading civil rights organization said it hopes to raise $15 million for its Building Community Voice Fund. Dominik Whitehead, […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Exonerated after serving 8 years for 2013 murder, a 26-year-old is indicted again in a NYC shooting

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who was exonerated after spending eight years in prison for a murder has been charged again — in a different fatal shooting. Shamel Capers, 26, was indicted Tuesday on charges including attempted murder in connection with a July 23, 2023, shootout between two groups of young men in Queens […]

3 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Why Joe Biden is trailing in Arizona voter polls

Donald Trump is garnering more support in Arizona than Joe Biden ahead of the 2024 presidential election, according to a poll released Wednesday. Mike Noble, CEO of Noble Predictive Insights (NPI), joined Mike Broomhead to discuss their poll that shows Trump at 44% and Biden at 41%, with 15% of likely voters undecided. Video: Jeremy […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Tennessee, Delaware to become first states to offer free diapers for Medicaid families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee will soon become the first state in the country to offer free diapers to families enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program after receiving federal approval, state officials have confirmed. Similarly, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has also approved extending a pilot program in Delaware that provides free diapers […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Florida floods: Businesses, residents begin cleaning up mess