- President Biden approved a disaster declaration for Broward County and nearby regions after the region experienced more than two feet of rainfall earlier this month.
- Federal assistance includes various programs such as temporary housing grants, home repair grants, low-cost loans, and other recovery programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
- Fort Lauderdale officials, including Mayor Dean Trantalis and City Manager Greg Chavarria, went to Washington D.C. to meet with federal agencies to request additional aid and assess the damages caused by the floodwaters.
President Joe Biden has granted a disaster declaration for Broward County and its adjoining areas following after the region experienced more than two feet of rainfall earlier this month. As part of the proclamation, federal funding is made available to those affected by the floodwaters.
According to the White House, federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and City Manager Greg Chavarria traveled to Washington D.C. on Thursday to meet with federal agencies to assess total damages and request aid. Per Trantalis, the delegation met with Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu.
“We are pleased to return from Washington D.C. hoping to secure assistance from various federal agencies in order to help bring Fort Lauderdale back to where it was before the unfortunate rain storm two weeks ago,” said Trantalis at a Friday press conference. “The White House has announced … that it will designate Fort Lauderdale as a major disaster area.”
According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), According to FDEM, 4-8 inches of rainfall was recorded over southeastern Broward County and northeastern Miami-Dade County, with the heaviest rainfall amounts of 25 inches recorded through the Fort Lauderdale metro area.
The surge of rainfall culminated in the rainiest day in Ft. Lauderdale’s history, leading to the closure of schools, airports, and municipal buildings.
Shortly after the storm subsided, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency in Broward County due to the record-breaking rainfall.
A subsequent Executive Order reported that critical infrastructure, including major state and county roadways, airports, hospitals, and schools were impacted and sustained potentially catastrophic damage. DeSantis also activated the Florida National Guard to assist in emergency recovery.
“On April 12, 2023, widespread showers and thunderstorms occurred overnight and produced significant rainfall totals, with certain areas of Broward County, including the City of Fort Lauderdale, witnessing heavy rainfall of over 25 inches, in addition to consequential flooding,” Taryn Fenske, Director of Communications for DeSantis said in a release.
In the days following the storm, Port Everglades, which handles 40 percent of Florida’s gasoline distribution across 12 counties, announced that the flooding had disrupted operations. By April 14, two days after the storm had passed, many gas stations in South Florida had run out of pre-storm supplies, and long lines had started to form at the few that remained open. On April 18, FDEM was forced to utilize 500,000 gallons of emergency fuel.
The Broward County School District also reported that floodwaters caused at least $2 million in damages to its schools across the area.