A general view shows a flooded street in, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
A general view shows a flooded street in, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., April 12, 2023 in this screen grab obtained from social media. John Haywood/via REUTERS Reuters

Torrential downpours inundated Southeast Florida on Thursday, bringing total rainfall in the Fort Lauderdale region to more than two feet in recent days, with widespread flooding that blocked roads, closed schools and shut down an airport.

Preliminary reports showed that about 25 inches (64 cm) of rain had fallen in Fort Lauderdale, making it a 1 in a 1,000-year weather event, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

"It's extremely rare. That is an astronomical amount of rainfall," Miami NWS meteorologist Shawn Bhatti said.

Some 2 million people in Broward County were under a flood warning as relentless rain drenched the area. Parts of Florida's Atlantic Coast north of Miami have already seen 20 inches (51 cm) of rain over the last several days, the NWS said.

No injuries or deaths have been reported.

Video footage on social media showed sheets of rain pounding the area as flood waters reached the tops of cars, and people wading through waters. In one video, a person swam in waters that had flooded a roadway.

"This thing has been parked for hours," meteorologist Alex Lamers said on Twitter on Wednesday night, referring to the storm system pumping rain into the region. "Like putting a faucet right over Fort Lauderdale, turning it on, and walking away."

Emergency management crews answered rescue calls overnight, the city of Fort Lauderdale said on its website early on Thursday, noting that there were flood conditions throughout the area.

The growing frequency and intensity of such storms amid bouts of prolonged drought across the nation are symptomatic of human-driven climate change, experts say.

Runways were flooded at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which was expected to be closed until midday on Thursday. Nearly 400 inbound and outbound flights were canceled, according to the Flightaware tracking site.

The heavy rains and flooding also forced Broward County Public Schools, serving some 250,000 students, to cancel classes on Thursday.