Flight cancelations, delays at reopened Fort Lauderdale airport after historic flooding slams South Florida

More than 25 inches of rain fell in the Fort Lauderdale area on Wednesday, causing major flooding that led the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to close.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in South Florida is experiencing cancelations and delays after it reopened Friday at 9am, following historic flooding and debris on the airfields that forced the airport to close on Wednesday night. 

According to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, more than 25 inches of rain fell in the Fort Lauderdale area on Wednesday. Once confirmed by the NWS, this event would set a new 24-hour, statewide rain record.

After a number of flight delays and cancelations from the at least a 1-in-1000-year flooding event, the airport opened its doors and tarmacs once again at 9am, with passengers already waiting at the terminal to board their flights.

FOX Weather meteorologist Ian Oliver said a 1-in-1,000-year flooding event doesn't mean it will be another 1,000 years before flooding of this magnitude will be experienced in Fort Lauderdale. Instead, it means "one-tenth of 1% is the chance of that happening in any given year," Oliver added.

As of Friday morning, ponding was still occurring in some areas of the airport with 5-foot-tall signs barely peeking above the water, reported FOX Weather multimedia journalist Brandy Campbell. Campbell also reported that only one runway is operational, while a second runway is still experiencing ponding. 

The airport is seeing many delays and dozens of cancelations, the most out of all U.S. airports Friday morning. In fact, inbound flights to FLL have been delayed at their origin an average of 3 hours and 6 minutes.


Photos and videos captured the extent of the downpour and its effects on the FLL airport and airline passengers.

Planes were seen surrounded by floodwater covering the tarmac.

Many flights were canceled due to the flooding, forcing travelers to stay at the airport.

Meanwhile, other passengers were seen leaving the airport and dragging their luggage through the murky floodwater.

Cars were also seen struggling to make it through the rising water, as seen in this photo captured at the airport.