‘On Our Way to Recovery': Fort Lauderdale Deals With Aftermath of Historic Flooding Event

At a news conference Friday, officials said water was receding but there was still a massive amount of flooding in the city after several days of rainfall

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Fort Lauderdale residents were still dealing with flooding issues Friday as firefighters continued to respond to calls for help and crews were clearing abandoned cars and debris after historic rainfall inundated the area.

At a news conference Friday, officials said water was receding but there was still a massive amount of flooding in the city after several days of rainfall.

"A large part of the city has some level of flooding, we have crews surveying to determine the severity of flooding in each neighborhood so we can establish a course of action going forward," Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters.

Trantalis and other local and state officials spoke as flights resumed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for the first time since Wednesday evening, when nearly two feet of rain inundated the area.

Kevin Guthrie, the director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, said he got an aerial view of the area and said it was the second-most catastrophic flooding event he's seen in his 33 years of working, second only to last year's Hurricane Ian damage in central Florida.

"There was a lot of water," Guthrie said. "Just north of the airport, it looks like there's about a 20 by 20 block, square block area, that has about three feet of standing water still in it, we gotta work on getting that water out of that neighborhood."

The neighborhood Guthrie spoke of, Edgewood, was one of the worst hit. Some streets still looked like rivers two days after the worst of the rainfall hit.

Residents in Fort Lauderdale's Edgewater neighborhood were assessing the damage from historic flooding on Friday.

Residents were working to clean out homes but were still without power in some areas Friday.

Trantalis said the city had 14 pump trucks on the ground initially, but they were primarily focused on moving water from around Florida Power & Light installations, to prevent widespread electricity outages.

He said the city had requested 20 more trucks, which were arriving and could tackle other areas of flooding.

"We are determined to make sure that our residents are safe and restore the community and our neighborhoods," Trantalis said.

At Fort Lauderdale's Flamingo Park neighborhood, residents were still wading through knee-deep water.

"We're trapped, I walked through it to go down to 7-Eleven way earlier this morning, it’s probably not a great idea, I have been slipping on stuff," homeowner Anthony Lentini said. "That’s what I am hoping for, that they’ll get out and clear the storm drains of whatever it is they do, to help this water move along."

NBC6 First Alert Meteorologist Adam Berg explains how warm fronts can cause major weather events in South Florida, just like the one we had on Wednesday that left severe flooding behind in Broward County.

Trantalis said first responders were still handling calls for help. He said they received around 250 Thursday night and into Friday, to go along with around 900 calls that had been previously received.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief Stephen Gollan said the calls now were mostly people needing assistance instead of rescue.

"There's really at this point no life safety issues that are out there, just individuals that have become overwhelmed with what has taken place," Gollan said.

Gollan said two firefighters who were part of rescue efforts had been shocked by an electrical wire while wading through water. Both were hospitalized but later released.

He encouraged people to stay out of the floodwaters, which are dangerous and could have contaminants.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport opens a day and a half after historic rain and flooding forced its closure.

An emergency shelter at Holiday Park being jointly run by the city and the Red Cross was housing around 40 people and their pets Friday, with room to accommodate more, Trantalis said.

Despite the overwhelming amount of rainfall and flooding, no deaths have been reported.

Three water breaks did occur, though there have been no sewer breaks and the city's drinking water is safe and free from contamination, Trantalis said.

Trantalis said hundreds of vehicles that were stalled or abandoned had been removed from streets, and said most major roadways were open, though vehicle removal efforts were ongoing.

City garages were open, and the Tortuga Music Festival kicked off at the beach Friday afternoon.

"We are well on our way to recovery," Trantalis said.

Broward County Public Schools is expected to reopen Monday after historic flooding as officials survey the damage left behind. NBC6's Ari Odzer reports

Broward County Public Schools remained closed Friday, but officials said they expect all to be open by Monday. Officials said Friday that at least 20 schools suffered flooding damage, and estimated there was at least $2 million in damages, though that figure was expected to rise.

Guthrie said he's been in constant communication with Gov. Ron DeSantis, who on Thursday declared a state of emergency for Broward.

He added that it's possible the flooding won't end up being a FEMA-reimbursable event, since it may not reach the $38 million damage requirement for public expenditures for FEMA assistance.

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