Storm That Flooded Puerto Rico Is Still a South Florida Threat This Week

Storm That Flooded Puerto Rico Is Still a South Florida Threat This Week

Well, that image above certainly doesn't look good. Thanks to a pesky tropical disturbance called Invest 92L, portions of Puerto Rico got slammed with walls of water over the weekend. Images from the island show cars trapped up to their bumpers in lake-size puddles.

And according to the National Hurricane Center's predictions Sunday night, the storm is still aimed roughly at South Florida. Though it's only marginally likely the storm will develop into a hurricane, the NHC in Miami says 92L has a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within the next five days — which means South Florida still needs to keep a close watch on the storm as it nears the Bahamas and Florida coast at the end of the week. Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned that this current hurricane season would likely be far worse than usual.

"Environmental conditions are expected to be unfavorable for development of this system during the next couple of days while it moves west-northwestward at about 15 mph toward the northern Bahamas and southern Florida," the NHC wrote last night. "Conditions could become a little more conducive for development later in the week when the system is near Florida or the adjacent waters of the western Atlantic or eastern Gulf of Mexico."

Remember how hard Tropical Storm Emily nailed downtown Miami and Miami Beach? Well, the area could be in for another round of floods if the storm hits Miami dead-on.

In fact, the South Florida Water Management District announced yesterday it's preparing for above-average rainfall this week by lowering water levels in multiple canals across South Florida to prevent flooding:

The question, of course, is whether the right conditions exist to help the storm transform into a hurricane. So far, the winds don't seem exactly perfect, but it's worth noting the NHC keeps upping the storm's development chances: Yesterday's 8 p.m. update bumped 92L's tropical-storm probability from 30 to 40 percent.

In the meantime, portions of Puerto Rico are recovering from getting hammered yesterday. Initial images from the island show floodwater cascading down hills, streaming through first-floor garages, and stranding at least one man's car in a chest-deep deluge:

Depending upon the storm's path and intensity, it could pose yet another test for the anti-flooding pump system Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has spearheaded. During the multiday shellacking Tropical Storm Emily gave the barrier island, the pump system was overwhelmed: Rain fell faster than the pumps were designed to handle, and a few of the pumps lost power in the middle of the storm. (An engineer warned New Times last year this would happen.) In response, Levine emergency-ordered back-up power generators for the stations. The incoming tropical disturbance could put the pumps to the test yet again.

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