Flash Flood Emergency Unfolds in Southern Fla.: How Common Are These Localized Catastrophes?

Oak Hill, WV (WOAY-TV): While rainfall has fallen slightly behind recently in southern West Virginia, the opposite end of the spectrum unfolded in southern Florida on Wednesday.

Low pressure near the Gulf Coast coupled with a separate system in the Atlantic produced several rounds of heavy rain that triggered flash flooding in Broward County, specifically the Fort Lauderdale area. While southern Florida is vulnerable to flooding, the amounts were epic with radar-indicated 9 to 24 inches of rain.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Emergency for the event as it unfolded. These alerts are only issued during a catastrophic flooding event when the heavy rain poses a severe threat to loss of life.

While flash flooding is common in southern West Virginia, even Flash Flood Emergency alerts don’t happen often. This alert was last issued in 2020 for Greenbrier County and prior to that in 2016 for Tazewell County.

Wednesday’s rainfall alone blew away the record for the wettest April on record in Fort Lauderdale, which was 14.09 inches in 1979.

How much rain is in our forecast? Chief Meteorologist Chad Merrill takes a look at the StormWatch 4 7-Day Forecast:

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