City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez held a press conference Monday to address how officials were handling damage that resulted from Tropical Storm Eta bringing heavy rains and winds to South Florida.
Suarez said that by Monday morning, the city had received 50 service calls related to Eta, 15 reports of downed wires, and multiple reports of downed trees, mostly in the Edgewater area. More than 19,600 residents suffered power outages throughout Sunday evening.
The mayor added that he expected more service calls throughout the day, and encouraged residents to report any emergencies related to clogged drains, flooding or downed trees by calling 311 or by downloading the I See Change app.
Marinas, parks, beaches, bus services and coronavirus testing sites will remain closed Monday, and officials have not yet announced when they will reopen. Suarez said they would let the public know as soon as a decision was reached.
Residents should also expect delays in garbage pickup and any other bulky pickups, Suarez said.
In the meantime, city officials were making assessments for downed trees and working on repairing a pump station in Brickell Bay that was causing problems.
TROPICAL STORM ETA
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 of rain last month.
Randy Smith of the South Florida Water Management District told NBC 6 that "in some cases, you have low-lying areas that aren’t well connected to the regional system, and in other cases I think there was just an overwhelming amount of rainfall for a system that perhaps wasn’t designed to accommodate that much flood water."
"You have to remember that some of these canals and local drainage systems are 75 years old, so these canals were designed with the anticipation of a lot fewer folks living down here than what we have right now," Smith added.
Over in Hialeah, one neighborhood in the area of West 29th Street suffered so much flooding that residents' cars were stuck under several inches of water.
Many vehicles had to be towed away. Some residents tried to push their own cars, but others resorted to riding bikes through the high water in order to make it to nearby stores or to work.
Gus Martinez, one resident, told NBC 6 that "it's the first time I've seen it this crazy. I'm lucky I didn't get stuck."
At an apartment complex at Northwest 68th Avenue and 179th Street, residents used buckets to try to get water out of their flooded units.
"We've been through major hurricanes through here and it's never been like this," resident Lazaro Guas said.
Guas lives on the ground floor and his apartment is flooded, something he's never seen in seven years living there.
"As far as I know all my neighbors on the first floor they all have water in their apartments," Guas said.
Other neighbors woke up Monday to find that their cars were flooded.
"My car is under water," Sandra Perdomo said.
NBC 6 caught back up with the Guas family Tuesday night. They were returning to their condo to pick up some clothing and other essentials. The water damage in their first floor unit is so bad they’re sleeping somewhere else.
“It’s little stuff that we have, but it’s still stuff that you work hard for. So it does bother. It’s stressful,” said Yesenia Guas.
They’re still assessing the damage, especially when it comes to the wood furniture and possible mildew. The carpet was very wet and the unit was starting to smell.
The Guas family, though, still focusing on what’s really important: each other.
“It’s just material stuff and eventually we can just replace it, but we cant replace a life.”