FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Fort Lauderdale’s airport reopened April 14 morning, two days after an unprecedented deluge left planes and travelers stranded, as residents in the city’s hardest hit neighborhoods began the slow process of cleaning up the mess left behind.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shut down April 12 evening as a storm dumped more than two feet of rain. Airport officials completed final inspections after sunrise April 14 and resumed operations at 9 a.m. By the afternoon, airport operations were slowly returning to normal, but the almost two-day closure was still affecting some passengers.
While it started raining on April 10 in South Florida, much of the water fell April 12, and the Fort Lauderdale area saw record rainfall amounts in a matter of hours, ranging from 15 inches to 26 inches.
In Fort Lauderdale’s Edgewood neighborhood on the morning of April 14, the water level had receded about a foot from April 13 but was still up to two feet deep in some spots as residents tried to clean up.
Airlines were forced to cancel more than 650 flights at the Fort Lauderdale airport on April 13, according to FlightAware.com. Broward County Public Schools, the sixth-largest school district in the nation with more than 256,000 students, canceled classes April 13 and April 14 after water inundated halls and classrooms in some schools.
Shawn Bhatti, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said the region received “an unprecedented amount” of rain. The weather service was still confirming totals, but some gauges showed up to 25 inches of rainfall.
“For context, within a six-hour period, the amount that fell is about a one in 1,000 chance of happening within a given year,” Bhatti said. “So it’s a very historical type of event.” (AP)