Already flooded, South Florida feeling wrath of Eta

Beaches and coronavirus testing sites were closed, public transportation shut down and some evacuations in place early Monday after Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in the Florida Keys.

Associated Press

Nov 9, 2020, 10:31 AM

Updated 1,311 days ago

Share:

Beaches and coronavirus testing sites were closed, public transportation shut down and some evacuations in place early Monday after Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in the Florida Keys, bringing heavy rains to already flooded city streets after leaving scores of dead and over 100 missing in Mexico and Central America.
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 (350 millimeters) of rain last month. Eta could dump an additional 6 to 12 inches (150 to 300 millimeters), forecasters said.
“In some areas, the water isn’t pumping out as fast as it’s coming in,” warned Miami Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he was in frequent contact with county water officials about the struggle to drain the flooded waters, which has stalled vehicles, whitewashed some intersections and even crept into some homes.
On Sunday night, authorities in Lauderhill, Florida, responded to a report of a car that had driven into a canal. Photos taken by fire units on the scene about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Miami showed rescuers searching high waters near a parking lot.
Firefighters pulled one person from a car and took the patient to a hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from Lauderhill Fire.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said a tropical storm warning was in place for the Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay. Storm surge warnings were discontinued early Monday.
Eta had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) on Monday morning and was centered about 45 miles (70 kilometers) north-northwest of Key West, Florida, and 65 miles (100 kilometers) south of Naples. It was moving west-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).
On the forecast track, Eta was expected to move out into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and intensify into a hurricane late Monday or Tuesday.
In the Florida Keys, the mayor ordered mandatory evacuations for mobile home parks, campgrounds and RV parks and those in low-lying areas. Several schools districts closed, saying the roads were already too flooded and the winds could be too gusty for buses to transport students. Several shelters also opened in Miami and the Florida Keys.
“Please take this storm seriously,” urged Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson. “Please don’t drive through flooded roadways.”
The storm swelled rivers and flooded coastal zones in Cuba, where 25,000 had been evacuated. But there were no reports of deaths. Authorities in Guatemala on Sunday raised the known death toll there to 27 from 15 and said more than 100 were missing, many of them in the landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz.
Local officials in Honduras reported 21 dead, though the national disaster agency had confirmed only eight.
Eta initially hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, and authorities from Panama to Mexico were still surveying the damages following days of torrential rains during the week.
In Guatemala, search teams first had to overcome multiple landslides and deep mud just to reach the site where officials have estimated some 150 homes were devastated.
In the worst-hit village, Quejá, at least five bodies have been pulled from the mud. The Indigenous community of about 1,200 residents consisted of simple homes of wood and tin roofs clinging to the mountainside.
Rescue workers used a helicopter to evacuate survivor Emilio Caal, who said he lost as many as 40 family members and relatives. Caal, 65, suffered a dislocated shoulder when the landslide sent rocks, trees and earth hurtling onto the home where he was about to sit down to lunch with his wife and grandchildren. Caal said he was blown several yards (meters) by the force of the slide, and that none of the others were able to get out.
“My wife is dead, my grandchildren are dead,” said Caal from a nearby hospital.
Firefighters’ spokesman Ruben Tellez said at least one additional person died in Guatemala on Sunday when a small plane went down while carrying emergency supplies to the stricken area.
In neighboring Honduras, 68-year-old María Elena Mejía Guadron died when the brown waters of the Chamelecon river poured into San Pedro Sula’s Planeta neighborhood before dawn Thursday.
In southern Mexico, across the border from Guatemala, 20 people died as heavy rains attributed to Eta caused mudslides and swelled streams and rivers, according to Chiapas state civil defense official Elías Morales Rodríguez.
The worst incident in Mexico occurred in the mountain township of Chenalho, where 10 people were swept away by a rain-swollen stream; their bodies were later found downstream.
Flooding in the neighboring state of Tabasco was so bad that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cut short a trip to western Mexico and was flying to Tabasco, his home state, to oversee relief efforts.
Hurricane Eta’s arrival in northeast Nicaragua Tuesday followed days of drenching rain as it crawled toward shore. Its slow, meandering path north through Honduras pushed rivers over their banks.
By Kelli Kennedy, Associated Press


More from News 12
2:26
Proposed O&G Industries expansion along Nowalk River prompts concerns from residents

Proposed O&G Industries expansion along Nowalk River prompts concerns from residents

1:55
Summer-like temperatures for Thursday; tracking storm chance for Friday

Summer-like temperatures for Thursday; tracking storm chance for Friday

1:40
Stamford PD warns Spanish-speakers about kidnapped family members phone scam

Stamford PD warns Spanish-speakers about kidnapped family members phone scam

0:57
 Jonathan Cubit visits students at Stamford's Stillmeadow Elementary School

Jonathan Cubit visits students at Stamford's Stillmeadow Elementary School

Sandy Hook shooting survivors to graduate with mixed emotions without 20 of their classmates

Sandy Hook shooting survivors to graduate with mixed emotions without 20 of their classmates

0:22
Gas leak temporarily shuts down portion of New Canaan downtown

Gas leak temporarily shuts down portion of New Canaan downtown

0:29
Hawk tangled in soccer net rescued in Woodbridge

Hawk tangled in soccer net rescued in Woodbridge

4:41
Father-son Alzheimer's Disease journey explored in new short film ‘Not the Same Clarence’

Father-son Alzheimer's Disease journey explored in new short film ‘Not the Same Clarence’

0:30
Connecticut to receive $9.2 million from Johnson & Johnson talc settlement

Connecticut to receive $9.2 million from Johnson & Johnson talc settlement

0:21
3 men arrested in connection with September shooting at Bridgeport lounge

3 men arrested in connection with September shooting at Bridgeport lounge

4:15
Guide: 12 tips for summer boating safety

Guide: 12 tips for summer boating safety

2:50
Four face election fraud charges in 2019 Bridgeport mayor’s race

Four face election fraud charges in 2019 Bridgeport mayor’s race

2:36
Experts provide safety tips following string of fatal bike-related accidents around Connecticut

Experts provide safety tips following string of fatal bike-related accidents around Connecticut

1:32
Students celebrate milestone post-COVID-19 graduation at a Milford high school

Students celebrate milestone post-COVID-19 graduation at a Milford high school

0:39
Milford PD releases all bodycam footage of Michael Brown arrest

Milford PD releases all bodycam footage of Michael Brown arrest

1:24
Want to save money on your summer getaway? Book your flight now

Want to save money on your summer getaway? Book your flight now

1:41
Micalizzi’s, ravaged by fire, continues ‘Ice Cream for Breakfast’ tradition for Stratford students

Micalizzi’s, ravaged by fire, continues ‘Ice Cream for Breakfast’ tradition for Stratford students

21:13
Kane In Your Corner: Victims of the System

Kane In Your Corner: Victims of the System

0:22
Stamford police warn of WhatsApp scam targeting Spanish-speaking families

Stamford police warn of WhatsApp scam targeting Spanish-speaking families

0:43
CT Arts Foundation launches with panel discussion from Grace Farms

CT Arts Foundation launches with panel discussion from Grace Farms