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Tropical Storm Eta Floods Streets in Florida; Schools in 12 Counties Closed Monday

Published in 9 November, 2020

At a Glance

  • South Florida was already seeing lots of rain from Tropical Storm Eta.

  • Schools districts cancel all classes for Monday.

  • Florida Power & Light said there is potential for widespread outages.

  • The governor declared a state of emergency for eight counties.

With hurricane and tropical storm warnings issued for much of South Florida, residents spent Sunday preparing for the arrival of Eta.

The system was expected to make its closest approach to the southern end of the state on Sunday night, possibly as a hurricane, producing flooding rain, storm surge, strong winds and high surf, according to weather.com meteorologists.

But parts of the state were already experiencing the impacts of the storm Sunday afternoon and evening. Street flooding was reported throughout Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and trees were reported downed in several locations.

More than 48,500 homes and businesses in South Florida had lost electricity as of 9:30 p.m., according to poweroutage.us.

On Sunday night, rescuers were searching for passengers of a car that drove into a canal in the city of Lauderhill in Broward after the driver couldn’t distinguish the parking lot from the canal because of floodwaters, according to WTVJ reported. Lauderhill Fire Rescue personnel rescued the driver, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to the fire department.

Downtown streets were flooded in Fort Lauderdale and waterways and canals overflowed their banks, according to The Weather Channel’s Chris Bruin.

Residents in Fort Lauderdale’s Melrose Park community said floodwaters had covered streets and some sidewalks there, too, according to WPLG.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport announced that flooding closed the entrance to the arrivals and departures area from Perimeter Road for about an hour Sunday afternoon. The airport and Miami International Airport continued to operate normally.

The National Weather Service office in Melbourne said sustained winds of 48 mph with gusts to 60 mph were being measured as in showers as they moved onshore to Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday declared a state of emergency for eight South Florida counties: Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach.

In Monroe County, which includes the Keys, officials have ordered residents of mobile homes, live-aboard vessels and similar units to evacuate by 5 p.m. Sunday. All recreational vehicles, trailers and campers had been told to leave the county by 9 a.m. Sunday.

Officials said they had no plans to order general visitor and resident evacuations. Shelters were opening at noon Sunday.

Miami-Dade County Schools, Broward County Schools and Monroe County Schools have announced schools will be closed Monday and all classes, including online, are canceled. St. Lucie County Schools, Martin County Schools and Palm Beach County Schools also announced they will be shut down Monday, as will Okeechobee County Schools, and Indian River County Schools.

(WATCH: Why is Eta’s Cone So Strange?)

Collier County Schools, Lee County Schools and Charlotte County Schools on the Gulf Coast of Florida also announced classes there would be canceled on Monday. Highlands County Schools in Central Florida also canceled Monday classes.

Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers announced it would also be closed Monday. Florida International University in Miami also is closing all campuses on Monday, as is Miami Dade College, Barry University and Broward College, according to the Miami Herald. University of Miami classes will be held online.

Cars move along flooded highway A1A in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday, November 8, 2020. A strengthening Tropical Storm Eta sliced across Cuba on Sunday and was aimed at the southern tip of Florida.
(Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Miami-Dade County declared a local state of emergency and said government offices would be closed Monday.

Beaches will be closed Monday in Miami-Dade, Miami, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, the Herald reported.

The city of Hialeah announced all city facilities will be closed Monday.

Florida Power & Light said in a news release it expected potential for widespread outages.

“We understand the anxiety and frustration our customers are feeling to have to prepare for a storm late in this unprecedented hurricane season,” Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said in the statement. “We have assembled a restoration workforce of approximately 10,000 and we are working to secure additional personnel.”

Earlier Sunday, Tropical Storm Eta moved across Cuba, where 25,000 people had evacuated. In Central America, searches continued for hundreds of missing people. Landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

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