Nearly a foot of heavy rain in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and subsequent flash flooding disrupted the city and forced the closure of its airport for several hours Wednesday afternoon and overnight.
Travelers were left stranded at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport (FLL), including on roadways around the airport, for several hours after “heavy rain and windy conditions” forced the facility to “temporarily” halt all arriving and departing flight activity shortly after 3 p.m.
In a follow-up message, the Fort Lauderdale airport announced it would remain closed overnight until noon on Thursday, April 13.
“The airport’s roadways are still closed and impacted by flooding,” FLL said in a statement. “While stalled vehicles are being removed from the upper/lower levels, the main exit artery remains flooded and congested with slow-moving traffic. We ask for your patience as we wait to safely assess the impacts of this unprecedented rainfall to restore airport operations when it is safe to do so.”
FLORIDA WALLOPED BY HEAVY RAIN, FLOODING AS FORT LAUDERDALE CANCELS FLIGHTS: ‘LIFE THREATENING SITUATION’
A flash flood emergency remained in effect through the day for the Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Hollywood, Dania Beach and Sunrise areas.
“Police and Fire Rescue continue to answer calls for service,” the city of Fort Lauderdale said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Public Works staff are clearing drains and operating pumps to mitigate the water as quickly as possible.”
Broward schools also canceled classes and after-school activities Thursday, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The National Weather Service Miami said more than 20 inches of rain poured down on the city in just six hours Wednesday.
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The closures at the airport started earlier in the day when it announced a “temporary” closure. By 4 p.m., the airport said it would remain closed as the main roadways entering and exiting the facility were “flooded and impassable.”
“Please do not attempt to enter or leave the airport at this time,” FLL cautioned. Later that same afternoon, the airport again warned travelers not to “try to enter or leave.”
By 6 p.m., FLL said it would remain “closed to flights and roadway traffic until further notice.”
Photos and videos of the flooding online show hundreds of vehicles stalled on the roadways around the airport.
Other areas in the city were also closed as the rain continued pouring through the night.
Wilton Manors Police Department and other agencies have urged drivers to avoid flooded areas.
Rain is expected to continue Thursday and thunderstorms are forecast for Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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