Though Hurricane Matthew is still 90 miles off the southeastern tip of Cuba, radar shows the outer bands of the billowing Category 4 storm already spiraling over South Florida. Combined with regular fall weather pattern, it's brought on torrential downpours that have already flooded Delray Beach streets and police are telling its residents to stay off the roads, making storm preparation even more difficult.
"The amount of flooding varied in different areas," Delray Beach Police spokesperson Dani Moschella tells New Times. "In some areas, it's just a little bit of the roadway. In others, half of the roadway is flooded."
At 10 p.m. Monday, road patrol officers reported seven problem flooding areas with swaths of standing water: the 300 block of West Atlantic Avenue, the 200 block of East Atlantic Avenue, South Federal Highway and Southeast 10th Street, much of the southwest residential neighborhoods, the 200-400 blocks of North Congress Avenue, the first block of North Military Trail, and just west of Congress on Lake Ida Road.
On social media, police advised that "drivers should avoid these areas, or stay off the roads altogether, if possible, until the weather clears."
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, the area from Deerfield Beach through the Volusia/Brevard County line (including all of Palm Beach County) were placed under a Hurricane Watch. Maybe because Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Palm Beach coast in 2012 and cost the county $14 million in damages, residents seem to already be taking precautions.
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On the Delray Beach Raw Facebook group, members were already planning their hurricane preparation Tuesday morning. Many of the newer residents asked if it was too soon to start stockpiling supplies. Others raced to track down generators and last-minute tree trimming.
This morning, a woman named Jennifer Daniels requested help assembling sandbags on her property. "My house unfortunately rests in a depression and I already had some flooding last night," she wrote.
A man named Bill Bathurst reported that his wife has already "wife wiped out three aisles at Publix."
Jarrod Barger voiced his frustration with drivers who flash their hazards during the rain: "Can you people PLEASE stop turning your hazard lights on in the rain!? It's EXTREMELY annoying and it's also illegal. Thank you for your cooperation in advance."