Amid Florida’s annual dry season, Fort Lauderdale has experienced what may have been the city’s rainiest day in history.
On April 13, the city was hit with torrential downpours, seeing nearly 26 inches of rain — with 20 of those inches falling in a period of just six hours — in what scientists are labeling a “one-in-a-thousand-year flood.”
Fort Lauderdale’s last record for the most rain seen in one day was in 1979 when the city measured 14.59 inches of rain.
The National Weather Service’s 25.91-inch estimate would represent the state record for the most rain seen in a 24-hour period. According to CNN, Fort Lauderdale saw about a month’s worth of rain during the worst hour of the downpour.
Fort Lauderdale Airport (pics from a friend of a friend) @NWSMiami pic.twitter.com/qnqGHs0EWh— Brooke Silverang (@WPBF_BROOKE) April 13, 2023
Flooding caused shutdowns across the state, including Interstate 95 exits, the Broward County School District, and Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport.
Meteorologist Alex Lamers wrote on Twitter that a radar of the storm made it look like someone was “putting a faucet right over Fort Lauderdale, turning it on, and walking away.”
Really bad. This thing has been parked for hours. Efficient, warm rain processes. Like putting a faucet right over Fort Lauderdale, turning it on, and walking away. pic.twitter.com/8mg8UgFrqv— Alex Lamers (@AlexJLamers) April 13, 2023
Good Morning America also shared a video of the Fort Lauderdale airport, showing how the runways were “looking more like a lake.”
A wetter Florida
These thousand-year flood events will become more common as the Earth continues to overheat — largely thanks to the burning of dirty energy sources — allowing the atmosphere to hold more moisture. For each degree Fahrenheit that the Earth warms, our atmosphere will be able to hold about 4% more water.
And while heavy rain is not uncommon in Florida, it will be getting more intense. As climate tech investor Molly Wood put it, even though extreme weather events have always happened, rising global temperatures are acting as “steroids for weather,” making these disasters stronger and more powerful.
Fort Lauderdale is preparing for another day of rain as it continues to clean up in the aftermath of this climate-fueled thousand-year flood.
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