By the end of the year, Fort Lauderdale would have been the wettest city in the whole country in 2023. Because of the heavy rain, Fort Lauderdale has now received 101 inches of rain this year. To make things even stranger, equipment at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport broke, so we don’t have an official rainfall total yet. I’m reading 10.01 inches right now, but we’re still waiting for the final number.
We’re at 111 inches if that 10.01 inches holds up. Add that to the 101 inches. The record is 102.36 inches, set in 1947. With six weeks left in the year, that will be easy to break. With 101 inches, it’s almost twice as much as a normal year at this point and twice as much as we had at this point last year.
But 2023 has not been good for the area. In April, Fort Lauderdale was hit by what some people would call the “Florida Man” of storms. Fort Lauderdale was soaked and flooded by more than 25 inches of rain in just six to eight hours.
Chris Burt, a weather historian, says that was one of the three wettest 24-hour periods in big U.S. cities. The wettest was Hilo, Hawaii, with 27 inches in 2000, and Port Arthur, Texas, with 26.5 inches in 2017.
Weather Prediction Center boss Greg Carbin said that it could happen in other coastal areas of the United States, but Florida is in the best position because of its terrain, proximity to warm water, and other factors that make it likely.
Carbin said that just two days before the heavy rain, David Roth, a forecaster at the Weather Prediction Center, told his coworkers that the conditions were going to be like April 25, 1979, when 16 inches of rain fell on Fort Lauderdale.
A supercell, a type of strong thunderstorm that can produce deadly tornadoes and hail, was seen over Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday. Several meteorologists said that the supercell would cause a lot of damage across the Great Plains and Mid-South in a short, very fast-moving path.