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Heavy Rains Lash Broward, Flooding Streets & Parking Lots

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - South Florida got off to a soggy start Wednesday after heavy overnight rains added to our already saturated conditions.

A Flood Watch is in effect for Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach counties until Wednesday evening.

Tuesday's rain, which swamped some low-lying areas and areas with poor drainage, created flooded streets and parking lots. The overnight rain just made it worse.

"I am afraid if I get to work, when I come back, I will not be able to get in," said Davie resident Debbie King. "My husband went to work but I'm keeping him informed. If it gets too high I will tell him to come home."

"We have identified where flash flooding has occurred. Water almost go into houses. There is not one single report of a family being displaced," said Roberto Baltodano with the Red Cross.

Wednesday morning, Sunrise police tweeted out that the popular Sawgrass Mills Mall would be closed due to flooding.

The mall issued this statement Wednesday morning after it became clear the parking lots were not navigable:

Due to area flooding, Sawgrass Mills will be closed today, Wednesday, June 7. We will continue to assess the situation throughout the day and provide regular mall updates on our social media pages and on our shopping line at 954-846-2350.

Drivers across South Florida were urged to take it slow and safe on the slick roads, some of which may be flooded.

"It's a slower ride obviously, you know, people with their hazards on and such and then just the drive time, being safe, slowing down, it does cause a little trouble," said Andrew Campten of Sunrise.

Most of American Heritage School in Plantation was underwater Wednesday night.

"I've never seen this in my life. Even where I work at my other job in Miami, flooding is just as bad," said Ron Woebae. "Lucky I have a high vehicle. I can get through a lot of this. I've seen a lot of stalled cars.  I've seen an enormous amount of tow trucks everywhere."

Residents in Lauderhill, Plantation, Coral Springs told CBS4 the canals near their homes were so full they were topping the retaining walls and merging with yards and streets. Some parents quickly realized a walk to the bus stop wasn't going to happen.

Storms are expected again late Wednesday and Wednesday night. While they will produce heavy rainfall, the unknown is how long the storms will remain over Broward and Miami-Dade. As of Wednesday morning, computer models suggested that the storms will keep moving, dropping only 1 to 3 inches of additional rainfall later through the night. If the storms slow down, however, then the rainfall amounts could be higher.

CBS4 Chief Meteorologist Craig Setzer said the difficulty is predicting where the heaviest rain will occur. Because the recent rain in Broward, especially Hollywood, northern Broward (Pompano Beach to Coral Springs), and western Broward (Sunrise, Davie, to Miramar and Weston) has created full lakes and canals, little additional rain will result in increased flooding. In those areas, the concern is water encroachment into homes and businesses as well as major road closures.

Stay alert, urged Setzer, especially in Broward and do not drive, or walk, through water of unknown depth, especially at night.

As the rain continues, the fear of the rising flood waters has some concerned.

"Especially if you have a short car or a car that's close to the ground, that's where it gets really tough because your car might get flooded and that could be some real damage," said Stephen Escobar.

That's exactly what happened to a car at the Sawgrass Mills Mall. CBS4 photojournalist Brian Shanahan had to put his camera aside and help a mom and her child, after she accidentally ran over a curb hidden by the high water.

Sawgrass Mills Water
A woman and child were stranded after they ran over a curb hidden by the high water at Sawgrass Mills Mall. (Source: CBS4/Tiani Jones)

At Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, 125 flights were delayed and another 25 canceled due to the weather. There were 11 delays and 18 cancellation due to weather at Miami International Airport.

On Tuesday, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach recorded record rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.

Fort Lauderdale received 4.78 inches which topped the old record of 1.96 inches set back in 1926.

West Palm Beach saw 4.18 inches of the wet stuff which topped the 1904 record of 3 inches.

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