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A South Florida airport has reopened after the storm brought unprecedented flooding

Fort Lauderdale’s airport reopened Friday morning, after two days An unprecedented flood Planes and passengers were stranded, as residents of the city’s worst-hit neighborhoods began the slow process of cleaning up the mess left behind.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was closed Wednesday evening as the storm dumped more than 2 feet of rain. Airport officials completed final inspections after sunrise on Friday and resumed operations at 9 am. Airport operations were slowly returning to normal by afternoon, but the nearly two-day shutdown was affecting some passengers.

While the rain began in South Florida on Monday, most of the water fell on Wednesday, and the Fort Lauderdale area received record amounts of rain in a matter of hours, ranging from 15 to 26 inches.


Flooding continues at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on April 13, 2023.

Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

In Fort Lauderdale’s Edgewood neighborhood Friday morning, water levels had dropped about a foot since Thursday but were still 2 feet deep in some places as residents tried to clean up. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

Broward County Public Schools, the nation’s sixth-largest school district with more than 256,000 students, canceled classes Thursday and Friday after halls and classrooms at some schools were flooded.

Sean Bhatti, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said the region received an “unprecedented amount” of rain. The weather service is still confirming totals, but some gauges showed up to 25 inches of rain.

“For context, within six hours, the chance of that amount falling over a given year is 1 in 1,000”. “So it’s a very historic kind of event.”


Denise Mendez, 32, left, and Isaine Lopez, 33, walk along a flooded street in the Edgewood neighborhood on April 13, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Tribune News Service via Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Getty Images

Newlywed Tatiana Rodriguez pointed to the spot a foot above the floor where water rose inside the room she rented with her husband, Joseph. The patio they share with other boarders and use to enter their home remains underwater.

Rodriguez, a hotel worker in Colombia, and her husband, a New York restaurant kitchen assistant, have no electricity to power their air conditioner, small microwave or small refrigerator.

The tiaras from their wedding last month still hang on the headboard of their bed. When water began to seep into their home Wednesday night, they went outside to find foot-high cinder blocks they used to climb into bed.

“The only thing we think about is, ‘Save the bed,’ because if we don’t have a bed, we have to leave,” Tatiana Rodriguez said as she floated the rubble. “We are lucky because we can stay.”

Nearby, yacht deckhand Sawyer Canal sailed through the water with two of his South African houseguests, Fran Human and Dominic Linda.

Cannell, who moved to Edgewood last week, said he’s lucky because his home sits on a small hill, preventing water from seeping inside. But the trio is surrounded by floods from all sides.

“I can’t complain – all my stuff is dry,” Cannell said. “But everything around us is wet.”

“This is not the holiday we expected,” the man deadpans.

Hayden Wooster spent two days driving the streets of Edgewood in his big pickup truck, helping people get to and from their homes. He said he was able to help two people with medical devices leave their home after firefighters in a small boat couldn’t, and helped evacuate a family with two disabled daughters.

“Grab them, grab their wheelchairs and take them to the hotel,” said Wooster, an attorney.

Airlines were forced to cancel more than 650 flights at Fort Lauderdale Airport on Thursday, according to FlightAware.com.

On the beach in Fort Lauderdale, the three-day Tortuga Music Festival kicks off Friday afternoon, headlined by Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Jack Wayne and Shania Twain. The “rain or shine” event put many ticket holders out of luck when the airport was closed.

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