Flood managers satisfied with how water is draining; Streets, people crippled by rare rain event

Despite historic weather that crippled parts of South Florida Thursday night and into early Friday morning, the region's top flood managers feel satisfied with how flood waters are moving out of some of the hardest hit areas.

Flood experts from the South Florida Water Management District held a press conference Friday afternoon to discuss how the 100 year rain event occurred and how the region is responding.

Randy Smith, spokesperson for the district admits their team was blindsided by just how much rain fell in such a short period of time.  "I don't think anyone expected this.  The forecast called for about 3 inches of rain." 

But the district's Tommy Strowd says the region's drainage system is operating like clockwork.  "I think the system handled it exactly right.  Yes, there was flooding, yes, there were impacts from that but it is a good system and it works and the way it was intended." 

Strowd and his team call the weather event of the last 24 hours historic and rare.  Upgrading the systems to better drain flood waters would be costly, he says.  "It becomes how much are you willing to spend in order to accommodate these very rare events," he said.

The district is continuing to work with local communities.  Flood structures are are open and working to move water from smaller local canals to bigger canals which will feed into the Atlantic Ocean. 

The highest amount of rain recorded by the National Weather Center was 22.2 inches near I-95 and Gateway Boulevard in Boynton Beach.  15 inches is believed to have fallen in about 3 hours.


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