Skip to content

Watch: Downtown Deluge Shuts Down Fort Lauderdale, Flooding Streets and Closing Airport

More than 25 inches of rain pummeled the city of Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday night, causing gridlock in the streets and sending residents into a panic.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — More rain than during some recent hurricanes fell on Fort Lauderdale Wednesday, leading Broward County to declare a state of emergency, the Red Cross to deploy and residents to send airboats to the rescue.

Mayor Dean Trantalis said on Thursday morning that it’s a 1,000-year event that no city could have planned for and no weather service could have warned about. As floodwaters rose, the city received more than 900 calls for help from stranded residents.

Major roads were impassable, causing drivers to abandon their cars due to rapidly rising water. In addition, roads into and out of Fort Lauderdale International Airport were completely under water Wednesday night, leading to a total shutdown that is expected to end Friday morning.

The National Weather Service’s Miami office called the 25.91-inch rain totals “historic” and confirmed that this much rain in a single day has a 0.2 percent chance of happening every year, which makes this a 1-in-500-year storm.