Gov. DeSantis declares state of emergency in South Florida as heavy rain leads to major flooding

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(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Parts of southern Florida continued to get inundated with heavy rainfall Wednesday, with Gov. Ron DeSantis declaring a state of emergency tonight for several counties, including Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade and Sarasota.

The National Weather Service in Miami said Wednesday evening that portions of Broward and Miami-Dade counties — including Hallandale and Hollywood — are continuing to see “life-threatening flooding” impacting homes, businesses and roads.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis had previously declared a state of emergency due to “ongoing heavy rainfall” that has flooded major roadways.

“Our emergency management staff is actively monitoring the situation and mobilizing resources across the City,” Trantalis said on social media.

Trantalis said high-water vehicles have been deployed throughout the city to respond as needed, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will be sending boats and buggies, but urged people to stay off the roads if possible.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava had also declared a state of emergency due to the weather.

“As our departments work to keep residents and business[es] safe, this is a necessary step to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our entire community,” she said.

Up to seven inches of rain had already fallen across Broward and Miami-Dade counties by Wednesday afternoon, with several more inches expected to fall.

Rainfall rates in the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood area reached four inches per hour Wednesday afternoon. Sarasota also saw a rainfall rate of nearly four inches per hour.

More than 10 inches of rain had already fallen across Broward and Miami-Dade counties on Wednesday, with several more inches expected to fall.

Rainfall rates in the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood area reached six inches per hour Wednesday afternoon. Sarasota also saw a rainfall rate of nearly four inches per hour.

A widespread six to 10 inches of rain had already fallen from Sarasota to Miami over the past few days as the region continued to get drenched on Wednesday. Sarasota saw record rainfall Tuesday; more than half a foot fell, most in just a few hours, causing significant flash flooding on streets.

The flood watch continues for southern Florida through Friday evening, with rain totals potentially reaching potentially 15 to 20 inches.

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