South Florida was once a wetland, a large swamp that took in tons of rain each year. The swamp ecosystem was built to take in the rains and a unique ecosystem thrived as a result of bountiful rains that fell each year. As people began to encroach on that swamp, dry up the land and build houses on it the rain didn’t go away. In fact, it kept and keeps falling where it always has year after year. The difference now is that the rain no longer has a gigantic wetland into which it can be soaked up. This causes flooding all around South Florida. and our little City of Oakland Park is no exception.
Record Flooding in Oakland Park
This weekend Tropical Storm Eta pounded South Florida with an unprecedented amount of rain. As the weekend continued the rain continued. In our Living In Oakland Park Facebook group, members from all around Oakland Park, posted pictures of heavy flooding. Some even reported a gurgling coming from the toilets in their homes. This was a sign that our infrastructure was being overwhelmed by the amount of water that Eta had brought with her.
Over the years Oakland Park has experienced a number of storms including Andrew, Wilma and Irma to name a few. But the amount of water that Eta brought is unmatched in previous years.
On the north side of Royal Palm Park the lake had overflowed into the parking lot. The water was so deep there were ducks swimming around in it. On the way to the south side of the park, different neighbors told the same story; the worst part was the flooding on NW 38th St on the south side of park.
NW 38th Street Underwater
On the south side of Royal Palm Park the water had overflowed from the lake. There was water on the playground, the volleyball court, on the field and on NW 38th St. The street was completely flooded with water coming thigh high (I am 5’3″). Houses on the NW 38th St. clearly had water above the base levels of the house. The entrance to Royal Park condos was completely flooded as well.
Maria da Penha, who lives right on NW 38th Street, said the water had come into her house through the garage. She could not get to the windows to see the situation outside of hour house. She was trying to keep the water out of her house as much as possible. But with nowhere to go the only choice is to wait for the water to recede.
We shared the condition of NW 38th Street with the City. The City Manager went down to survey the area and shared the following “The water accumulation was more than the system can accommodate in such a short period especially as the ground was already saturated. In low lying areas with this much rain, there is no where for the water to go“.y.
Not Just Oakland Park
Oakland Park is not alone in being overwhelmed by the amount of rain that fell this weekend. Reports from all over South Florida show that, in general, municipalities’ infrastructure is being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of water that Eta brought with her. In 12 counties around the state schools were shut down because of Eta.
The Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale is flooded. Brickell in Miami, which installed a brand new pump system after Irma, is flooded. A Miami Gardens resident shared with Living In Oakland Park that in his 20 years living in that area, he had never, even during a hurricane, so much flooding. He remarked that on one street alone there were 4 tow trucks pulling cars out of the flooded areas.
Other Parts of Oakland Park
East Side Village
John Michael Gordon, a resident of East Side Village off of Dixie Highway, posted this picture today. Gordon took a lighter side to the high levels of water, commenting on his photos: “So we have a little bit of water. Lol“.
We have floating docks in South Florida but it is not common to see them floating down a residential canal. Oakland Park resident Eileen Danielson saw one and posted the picture below with the following question: “Anyone missing a floating dock with chairs? At the end of canal on 32court“.
Oakland Park resident Andy Geis took his kids street surfing. “What do you do when your locked up in the house and the streets are flooded?? You go street surfing !!“.
Not All Fun and Games, Be Careful!
While some could take a lighter approach, it is not all fun and games for those whose houses or businesses have been affected by the water. Eta has dropped more rain on us than any hurricane previous so it is important to follow local guidelines and be careful in order to stay and stay dr