South Florida underwater: Tropical rainstorm delivers 20 inches of rain in 24 hours

Vehicles were stranded on roads that were transformed into rivers across South Florida on Wednesday, including around Fort Lauderdale and Miami, as a tropical deluge inundated the region.

A state of emergency has been declared in Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade and Sarasota counties due to Wednesday's flooding.

Widespread flooding from a tropical rainstorm was reported across the area, with some of the worst conditions occurring north of Miami, where a rare flash flood emergency was issued by the National Weather Service. The "particularly dangerous situation" started to unfold ahead of the Wednesday evening commute.

"Please stay home if you possibly can and do not go wandering into flooded waters," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told Miami-based Local 10 News on Wednesday. "We want people to just stay off the roads but we are pumping and we also have our emergency vehicles on the ready."

More than 600 flights were canceled, and another 650 were delayed between Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport on Wednesday.

As of 9:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, nearly 20 inches had fallen in Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, according to AccuWeather/Ambient Weather stations. This is more than double the historical average rainfall for all of June and well above the 11.94 inches that fell in the region from January through May.

Wednesday afternoon's heavy rain in southeast Florida follows flooding reported on the west coast of the state yesterday. The Sarasota-Bradenton airport set a new preliminary record for 1-hour rainfall, racking up 3.93 inches between 7 and 8 p.m. EDT. Over 13 inches of rain was reported at one AccuWeather / Ambient Weather station.

And more rain is in the forecast.

"The surge of tropical moisture is going to continue to traverse across South Florida [through Thursday]," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Feerick said. "The heaviest of the thunderstorms are likely to continue to produce rainfall rates of 3-5 inches per hour."

Rainfall over southern Florida this week has exceeded 14 inches (red) in much of the region.

Rainfall over southern Florida this week has exceeded 14 inches (red) in much of the region.