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Heavy rain hits Florida, flooding strands Miami vehicles

  • RAMON ESPINOSA / AP
                                Children walk through their neighborhood street flooded by heavy rains, in Havana, Cuba, Friday.

    RAMON ESPINOSA / AP

    Children walk through their neighborhood street flooded by heavy rains, in Havana, Cuba, Friday.

MIAMI >> Parts of South Florida were experiencing road flooding from heavy rain and wind Saturday as a storm system that battered Mexico moves across the state.

Officials in Miami warned drivers about road conditions as many cars were stuck on flooded streets.

“This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Traveling during these conditions is not recommended. It’s better to wait. Turn around, don’t drown,” the city of Miami tweeted.

The city was towing stranded vehicles from flooded roadways.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm once known as Agatha in the Pacific Ocean will be known as Alex in the Atlantic Ocean basin, if it reaches tropical storm status.

At 11 a.m. EDT, a tropical storm warning was in effect for portions of the state’s east coast and the northwestern Bahamas. Bermuda was under a tropical storm watch.

The storm’s center was disorganized, but appeared to be reforming near the Florida east coast. The storm is expected to reach tropical storm strength off Florida’s eastern coast by Saturday night and is expected to strengthen through Monday as it moves away from Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said most government services, such as bus routes and trains, planned to operate as normal over the weekend. Canal levels in South Florida have been lowered to minimize flooding from heavy rains.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to the storm season but not unprecedented for Florida.

The National Hurricane Center predicts that rainfall up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) is possible in South Florida, including the Florida Keys. The storm is not expected to produce huge winds or major storm surge. But local flooding is likely.

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