Tropical Storm Eta brought over a foot of rain in parts of South Florida between Sunday night and Monday morning, and now one flood-prone area of Miami is having to deal with the worst of the storm’s aftermath.
At the intersection of Brickell Avenue and southeast 13th Street, cars stalled on the flooded roadway.
Bastian Vidal was one of those drivers who was left stranded. He says he and a coworker were just one block away from their job before the water proved to be too much for his car. The two ended up pushing the vehicle for a couple more blocks before a tow truck arrived.
“To be honest, the water wasn’t that high. We thought we were going to make it. But we didn’t,” Vidal said. “It was the only way to come into this building, so we had no other choice. You were so close. We were so close.”
This part of Brickell, which is just blocks away from Biscayne Bay, is known for flooding easily. It’s one of the reasons why the City of Miami has spent $200 million in mitigating the impacts of flooding and sea-level-rise through water pumps.
However, city officials say those pumps were overwhelmed on Monday. The one on Brickell Avenue was down for maintenance.
A similar story unfolded earlier this year.
Back in May, a rainstorm dumped 8 inches of rain on Miami. At the time, the city said other water pumps were down for routine work.
At a news conference on Monday, City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said that the city had so far received 50 service calls related to Eta, 15 reports of downed wires, and multiple reports of downed trees, mostly in the Edgewater area. More than 11,200 residents suffered power outages throughout Sunday evening.
The mayor added that he expected more service calls throughout the day, and encouraged residents to report any emergencies related to clogged drains, flooding or downed trees by calling 311 or by downloading the I See Change app.
Eta hit land late Sunday on Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida. The system’s slow speed and heavy rains posed and enormous threat to South Florida, an area already drenched from more than 14 inches of rain last month. Eta could dump an additional 6 to 12 inches, forecasters said.