Jun 4, 2022 - Science

Southern Florida pummeled by rain as areas of Miami flood

Satellite image of the tropical weather system over Southeast Florida on Saturday.
Satellite image of the tropical weather system over southeast Florida on Saturday. Photo: NOAA

A tropical storm system pounded Southern Florida with rain on Saturday, triggering flash flooding warnings for the Miami area, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The latest: Over 11 inches of rain were measured in gauges in Miami as of Saturday morning. The downpour flooded roads and created dangerous conditions for motorists.

  • Flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties until noon Saturday.
  • The NWS cautioned drivers to turn around if they encounter a flooded road, warning that most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

Why it matters: Flooding will likely be particularly acute in low-lying coastal areas where storm surge waters from the storm's relatively modest tropical-storm-force winds will prevent draining from the land into the sea, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • Heavy precipitation events are becoming more common and severe due to climate change, and tropical cyclones are dumping more rainfall than just a few decades ago, studies show.

By the numbers: The NWS said that between 5 and 9 inches of rain have fallen in parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties as of Saturday morning, with an additional 2 to 4 inches expected.

  • An additional 2 to 5 inches are expected in parts of Miami-Dade County, where between 6 and 11 inches have already fallen.
  • The National Hurricane Center (NHC) estimated that the storm could dump as much as 15 inches of rain on South Florida and said that "considerable flash and urban flooding is expected."

The big picture: The storm system is forecast to become Tropical Storm Alex off the eastern coast of Florida by Saturday night. It is projected to strengthen over the western Atlantic through Monday, according to the NHC.

  • The center reported the system had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving northeast at 18 mph Saturday morning.

Go deeper: NOAA predicts as many as 6 major Atlantic hurricanes for 2022

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