Key Biscayne’s streets started to flood as a disorganized but very wet tropical system started to gather strength Friday. Forecasters said the “potential” tropical storm could dump as much as 12 inches of rain today and Saturday.
In Key Biscayne, residents added a stop to their errands and shopping and picked up Village-provided sandbags at the beach park under heavy rain from the outer edges of the system.
“We are doing our best to be prepared,” said Village Public Works Director Jake Ozyman, but he also emphasized that existing drainage systems can only do so much.
“Our system drains pretty quickly, but it’s old and low-lying, and it depends on the tides.”
Ozyman said the Village had ordered 3,000 sandbags and would continue distributing them on a first-come first come basis at the Beach Park.
The National Hurricane Center said that reconnaissance aircraft did not find tropical-storm force winds in the disorganized system, and that the path of the system was crawling northeast at about five miles per hour. But Hurricane Specialist Jack Beven wrote that the system — which will get the name “Alex” if it intensifies — will still be a big rainmaker. Officials put Key Biscayne and much of South Florida under a Tropical Storm Warning earlier Friday.
Ozyman cautioned Village residents to avoid storm waters, which he said are unsafe for cars and people.
“Floodwater is dirty. Don’t think it’s rain water. Once it mixes, it’s one of the dirtiest things there is. Don’t play in it.”
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.