Parts of South Florida experienced street flooding from heavy rain and winds on Saturday as a storm system that had battered Mexico moved across the state.
Miami officials warned drivers about road conditions as many cars became stuck on flooded roads.
“This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Traveling in these conditions is not recommended. It’s better to wait. Turn over, don’t drown,” according to the City of Miami tweeted.
The city towed stranded vehicles from flood lanes. At least one tree had fallen over a Pompano Beach home, evicting its residents.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was once knownin the Pacific Ocean will be known as Alex in the Atlantic Basin when it achieves tropical storm status.
As of 2 p.m., the storm was concentrated about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south-southwest of Fort Pierce, Florida, according to the US-based National Hurricane Center. It was moving northeast at 30 km/h. A tropical storm warning was in effect along the state’s east coast south of the Volusia-Brevard County line to Jupiter Inlet and the northwestern Bahamas. A tropical storm watch was in effect for Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds were recorded near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts.
The storm is expected to reach tropical storm strength off Florida’s east coast by Saturday night and strengthen by Monday as it moves away from Florida and into the Atlantic.
In Cuba, the storm killed three people, damaged dozens of homes in Havana and cut power in some areas, according to authorities. Heavy rains continued on Saturday but eased as the weather system moved away from the island.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said most government services, like bus routes and trains, plan to operate normally over the weekend. South Florida canal levels have been lowered to minimize flooding from heavy rains.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to the storm season, but not unprecedented for Florida.
The National Hurricane Center forecasts rainfall of up to 10 inches is possible in southern Florida, including the Florida Keys. The storm is not expected to produce large winds or large storm surges. However, local flooding is likely.