Nov. 9 (UPI) — Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta pelted South Florida late Sunday and early Monday and knocked out power to tens of thousands in the Miami metropolitan area and the southwestern part of the state.
Eta made landfall in the Florida Keys late Sunday as a strong tropical storm and lashed the islands with gusts, heavy rains and dangerous storm surge after killing dozens late last week in Central America.
By early Monday, there were more than 30,000 homes and businesses without power in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in southeastern Florida, according to PowerOutage.us. Hundreds more were without electricity in Monroe and Collier counties in the southwestern part of the state.
Weather observers in South Florida reported heavy rainfall with street flooding, strong winds and dangerous storm surges Monday morning. Tropical storm warnings were issued for the area the Brevard-Volusia County line to Anna Maria Island, including the entire Miami metropolitan area and the Florida Keys.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Fort Lauderdale effective through Monday night.
The NWS reported knee-deep water in Davie and flooding in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Roadways in Hollywood, Fla., were seen inundated with ankle-deep floodwater.
Fire officials in Lauderhill said a motorist was hospitalized in critical condition after driving their vehicle into a flooded canal.
“Once the ground becomes saturated, there’s really no place for the water to go,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters. “It’s not like a major hurricane. It’s more of a rain event, and we’re just doing our best to ensure that the people in our community are being protected.”
More than 20 vacuum trucks were dispatched throughout the city, he said.
A flash-flood warning was also posted for parts of Miami-Dade County overnight Monday.
Miami fire officials said a nine-year-old boy narrowly escaped injury when high winds toppled a tree onto his family’s duplex.
Eta is moving out over the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane in the coming days before making a turn and possibly returning to central and northern Florida.