South Florida still feeling effects of weekend downpours

South Florida was hit hard by heavy rainfall over the weekend, and many areas were still feeling the effects Monday.

“It was up to my knees. From right here, it was up to my knees until the road,” Davie resident Frank Torres said.  

Torres said this weekend’s downpours left him with a flood of trouble and a big mess. He said he tried his best to prepare for the heavy rainfall.

“(I had) 62 sandbags,” he said. “I need more. Look where the water is coming up to here.”

Flooding is a reoccurring problem for Torres’ Davie community just south of Interstate 595.

“Streets are cracking. You know, when the water reaches that far, it’s bad,” Torres said.  

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Drainage pumps worked throughout Monday morning to help clear Torres’ neighborhood.

The city of Hallandale Beach was also drying out after receiving nearly 8 inches of rainfall in the course of six hours Sunday. Several parking lots filled with ankle-deep water.

And over in Lauderhill, close to 4 inches of rain made it into one woman’s garage, and the roads looked more like rivers.

“Sure enough, the garage was flooded and the street was flooded and the backyard was flooded,” Tammy Wisell-Hubbard said.  

With more rainfall expected later on this week, homeowners are weary and nervous.

“It’s so mucky how much water it’s going to take,” Torres said. “It’s not going to take no more.”

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More Kilauea eruptions possible, but laze, lava are biggest hazards

Residents on the Big Island face several threats Monday from Kilauea: In addition to the possibility of more eruptions, lava is oozing into the ocean, sending hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.

That’s producing laze, a dangerous mix of lava and haze, which is adding to the ongoing challenges. Levels of sulfur dioxide have tripled in emissions. And Kilauea Volcano’s summit had several small ash emissions Sunday, releasing plumes of gas and billowing steam.

Over the weekend, a man sitting on his porch was hit in the leg by a lava bomb, leaving him seriously hurt, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno. It’s the first serious injury reported since the volcano began erupting May 3.

“I heard the injury was quite bad,” Magno told CNN affiliate KHON Saturday.

The United States Geological Survey warned residents to remain alert.

“At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles very near the vent,” said the USGS. “Communities downwind should be prepared for ashfall as long as this activity continues.”

The Kilauea volcano erupted at least twice this weekend — at one point launching a cloud of ash up to 10,000 feet high.

“Additional explosions possible at any time,” according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

‘It’s very dynamic and very dangerous’

The threat from laze began after lava crossed Highway 137 late Saturday night and entered the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. This has cut off parts of the road, a critical access point, which affects thousands of residents, reported CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.

Officials are warning people to stay away from areas where lava meets the ocean, as laze can cause lung, eye and skin irritation.

“This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows,” the HVO said.

There are additional hazards as lava enters the ocean, including the scalding, hot water, said Ken Rubin, the department chair of geology and geophysics at the University of Hawaii.

“The land formed during the process — we call it the lava delta — can be very unstable. It can break off without any warning. It can cause waves of hot water to wash back on the shore. It’s very important for people to stay away from that area. It’s very dynamic and very dangerous,” he told CNN.

The U.S. Coast Guard enforced a Lava Entry Safety Zone Sunday for the navigable waters around the Kilauea Volcano. A Coast Guard statement says the safety zone includes all waters extending about 300 meters around the entry of the lava flow.

Structures destroyed, more fissures open

Flaming rivers of molten rock have already destroyed at least 40 structures.

The volcano has caused almost two dozen fissures to crack the Earth’s surface open — purging fountains of lava and dangerous sulfur dioxide.

The USGS said the latest lava effusion near Leilani Estates is a “major eruption.”

“At the summit, we expect that the small steam explosions will continue at similar levels to what has occurred over the past several days,” the agency said. “In 1924, the summit explosions persisted for over 2 weeks, so that’s a good baseline for what to expect with the current activity.”

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Heavy rains cause flooding, flight delays across South Florida

Heavy rains are causing flooding, flight delays and even a small number of power outages Sunday in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

A flood advisory is in affect for northern Broward County and northeast Miami-Dade County until 10:30 a.m. Areas affected include Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar and Coral Springs.

The region experienced several days of rain, saturating the ground, and Sunday brought even more precipitation. Up to 5  inches of rain has already fallen in some areas.

In Hollywood, a storm drain became clogged along Taft Street. Drivers were pushing through almost a foot of water in the deepest spots. On Twitter, Coral Springs police advised people to stay indoors.

“Do not go out onto the roads unless absolutely necessary. Conditions are very dangerous,” the department said.

Greg Meyer, a spokesman for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, urged travelers to check their flight statuses before heading out. Meyer said several flights have been affected by the heavy rain and at least one parking lot used by taxi drivers is flooded.

Florida Power and Light reported Sunday morning that about 1,400 customers in Broward County were without power while about 1,000 customers in Miami-Dade County were affected.

Many outdoor events have been rained out including Unifest in Lauderdale Lakes.

“This has never happened in its 24 year history. It’s very disappointing, but safety first,” the organizers of the Caribbean festival said.

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Four airlifted as fast-moving lava threatens more homes in Hawaii

Fast-moving lava crossed a road and threatened dozens of homes, prompting National Guard helicopters to airlift residents from Hawaii’s lower Puna area.

Hawaii officials warned residents in affected areas to shelter in place Friday night and await further instructions. The lava forced the closure of Pohoiki Road, cutting off at least 40 homes, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said.

It urged residents near Highway 137 to be ready for voluntary evacuations should it become threatened.

“With fresher, hotter magma, there’s the potential that the lava flows can move with greater ease and therefore cover more area,” US Geological Survey geologist Janet Babb told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.

Resident Ikaika Marzo said lava flow has left his neighbors rattled. It sounds like 10 or 20 jets taking off from your backyard at the same time, he told the affiliate.

“It’s been like hell,” he said. “It’s like huge grenades going off. It shakes the whole community.”

‘It’s hard to believe’

Steve Gebbie lives in Leilani Estates, one of the hardest-hit areas. He said watching the lava destroy homes in his subdivision has been surreal.

When the Kilauea volcano erupted May 3, he joined hundreds of others forced from their homes in the subdivision. His home is still standing, but it’s surrounded by toxic gas.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s happened in our neighborhood,” said Gebbie, who’s lived in the subdivision for 12 years. “And every day has gotten worse.”

The lush green jungle has become rotten, yellow vegetation. Sections of streets that disappeared under the lava two weeks ago now look like a river of black molten rock.

More cracks on the ground

Fissures, or cracks in the ground, are opening up, with a 22nd reported Friday, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said.

Toxic gas and hot lava continues spewing from old and new fissures. Lava has destroyed 40 structures so far, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Just a day earlier, on Thursday, an eruption from the volcano’s summit shot ash and smoke 30,000 feet into the air. Authorities handed out almost 18,000 masks after Thursday’s explosive eruption from the Kilauea summit.

The sulfur dioxide was thick afterward near the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, enveloping the area in a thick fog that smelled of rotten eggs. In Pahoa, the earth sounded like it was cracking wide open as lava spattered and exploded from fissures.

US Geological Survey scientists said they expect the eruptions to continue.

“At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent,” USGS scientists said.

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Storm system could hit South Florida late next week into Memorial Day weekend

We’re keeping an eye on the tropics for late next week into the Memorial Day weekend. The computer models are showing the possibility of a system developing to our south, and then being pulled north over or in the vicinity of Florida.

The weather pattern does not appear conducive to a well-developed low-pressure system forming, but no matter what develops, a surge of moisture out of the Caribbean appears likely to produce tropical downpours over South Florida about a week from now.  

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No system exists at the current time, but the type of system the models are showing is fairly common for late May. There is general low pressure deep in the Caribbean, and a big dip in the jet stream is expected to form over the Gulf of Mexico, which may tap into that disturbance.  

There is a slight chance of an organized system at this point and a better chance of another round of heavy rain around next weekend. It’s too early to know more. Stay tuned. 

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Two weeks later, residents say volcano is getting worse

Steve Gebbie has to wear a face mask every time he comes close to his home on Hawaii’s Big Island.

When the Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3, Gebbie and hundreds of people were forced from their homes in the Leilani Estates subdivision. His home is still standing today but it’s surrounded by toxic gas.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s happened in our neighborhood,” Gebbie says. “And everyday has gotten worst.”

Residents have been periodically allowed back to their homes to check on them.

Fissures, or cracks in the ground, are opening wider and wider by the day. The lush green jungle has turned into yellow and rotten vegetation. Sections of streets that disappeared under the lava two weeks ago now look like a river of black molten rock.

During the day, residents can hear a thick layer of lava crunching through the street as they walk through this neighborhood near the Big Island’s eastern edge. At nighttime, they can see the molten rock glowing from afar.

The toxic gas continues spewing from the fissures.

Gebbie, 56, says the windows and doors of his home have turned orange due to the gas. He knows he will likely never be able to live there again.

“We can’t give up,” said Gebbie, who’s lived in Leilani Estates for 12 years.

“This is paradise,” he added.

21st fissure forms

A new fissure opened up Thursday evening, adding to a new hazard for residents of Hawaii’s Big Island, officials said.

In the past week, an eruption from the volcano’s summit shot ash and smoke 30,000 feet into the air, new fissures appeared and some earlier ones reactivated flowing lava.

Authorities handed out almost 18,000 masks to help residents deal with the fallout.

Scientists with the USGS expect eruptions to continue.

“At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent,” the USGS said. “Ballistic projectiles may be produced should steam-driven explosions occur. Impacts will be limited to an area around Halemaumau.”

Halemaumau is the crater within Kilauea’s summit caldera.

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