Hurricane Eta Reaches Florida, Damage Continues

Hurricane Eta in Miami
Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Tropical Storm Eta finally reached American soil this week –– and has caused unsafe flooding in some of Florida's most populous urban areas, according to reports. By Monday, the storm reached the Florida Keys, leaving neighborhoods completely abandoned, CBS News reported

Eta has "turned its firehose of moisture straight at Miami-Dade and Broward (counties) in Florida and has dropped almost a foot of rain in the past day or so and brought about considerable flooding," CBS News weather producer David Parkison said Monday morning.

"It was far worse than we could've ever imagined, and we were prepared," said Arbie Walker, a 27-year-old student who had to flood of water covering his apartment's floors in Fort Lauderdale. 

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis called it a 100-year rain event.

"It's not like a major hurricane, it's more of a rain event," he said. "And we're just doing our best to ensure that the people in our community are protected."

"It's been pretty much nonstop rain since yesterday. There is 5-6 inches of rain in our apartment right now. It took us 20 minutes to navigate out of our neighborhood due to the heavy flooding in our area," Walker added. Floodwaters also submerged half of his sister's car.

Forecasters said the storm could re-intensify into a smaller hurricane as it moved up Southwest Gulf Coast, the outlet reported.

Some neighborhoods don't have enough drainage, leading to city officials dispatching 24 tanker trucks with vacuums to soak up water from the past few weeks. 

A tractor-trailer was left dangling off the elevated Palmetto Expressway in Miami early Monday morning, according to CBS Miami.

“We have two permanent pumps with the capacity to remove 50,000 gallons of water per minute," Brickell Mayor Francis Suarez said Monday, according to the Miami Herald. "The pump on Brickell Avenue, in particular, for some reason, has not worked during the last two events.”

Firefighters pulled a person from a car that had driven into a canal Sunday night in Lauderhill, Florida, north of Miami. The patient was hospitalized in critical condition, according to a statement from Lauderhill Fire.

"There are a lot of people with their doors open, getting furniture up to higher ground and trying to get water out of their homes," said Barry said. "Everyone is helping each other out a lot," she said. "Floridians are really resilient."

In Cuba, Eta continued to flood coastal zones and swell rivers on Monday. About 25,000 people were evacuated –– but no deaths were reported, according to CBS News.

Eta first hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane and then made its way to Honduras, Mexico and Panama, where it caused severe damage. 

The official death count as of Monday was at least 68 people, but hundreds more are missing and many thousands are in shelters, CBS reported.

The storm is expected to make a shape turn to the north by late Tuesday and could gain strength as it heads over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, CNN reported.

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