Heavy rain hits Florida, floods Miami vehicles

Parts of South Florida were inundated with heavy rain and winds on Saturday as a storm system that hit Mexico moved across the state.

Miami officials warned drivers of road conditions as many cars were stuck in flooded streets.

“This is a dangerous and life threatening situation. Traveling in these conditions is not recommended. Better to wait. Turn around, don’t drown,” the City of Miami tweeted.

The city had been towing stranded vehicles from…

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Parts of South Florida were inundated with heavy rain and winds on Saturday as a storm system that hit Mexico moved across the state.

Miami officials warned drivers of road conditions as many cars were stuck in flooded streets.

“This is a dangerous and life threatening situation. Traveling in these conditions is not recommended. Better to wait. Turn around, don’t drown,” the City of Miami tweeted.

The city was towing stranded vehicles on the flooded roads.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the storm tested the drain pump system the city recently installed as climate change has increasingly made flooding an issue in the low-lying area.

“We got the water out pretty quickly, but in some areas obviously it was really difficult,” Gelber said. “There were some issues crossing some streets, one of the main thoroughfares was impassable, but overall the water is dissipating.”

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm once known as Agatha in the Pacific Ocean will become known as Alex in the Atlantic Ocean basin, if it achieves tropical storm status.

At 2 p.m., the storm was centered about 25 miles south-southwest of Fort Pierce, Florida. It was moving northeast at 18 mph (30 km/h). A tropical storm warning was in effect along the state’s east coast south of the Volusia-Brevard county line to Jupiter Inlet and the northwestern Bahamas. A tropical storm watch was in effect for Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds were recorded at nearly 40 mph (65 km/h) with stronger gusts.

The storm is expected to reach tropical storm strength off the east coast of Florida by Saturday evening and is expected to strengthen through Monday as it moves away from Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean.

In Cuba, the storm killed three people, damaged dozens of homes in Havana and knocked out power in some areas, authorities said. Heavy rains continued on Saturday, but lessened as the weather system moved away from the island.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said most government services, such as bus lines and trains, plan to operate normally over the weekend. Canal levels in South Florida have been lowered to minimize flooding from heavy rains.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to storm season, but not unprecedented for Florida.

The National Hurricane Center predicts that rainfall of up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) is possible in southern Florida, including the Florida Keys. The storm is not expected to produce high winds or major storm surge. But local flooding is likely.

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