The most recent storm was addressed in a positive way and motivated new infrastructure projects
By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
On November 15, Miami-Dade and Broward were hit by a storm during a 24-hour window. In the latter county, schools were closed the next day, while in the former classes resumed normally. Given that this situation is repeated more and more frequently nowadays due to climate change, it’s time to analyze what the balance was and what can be improved.
In Doral, which received 14 plus inches of rainfall, the balance was positive, because although street systems were saturated due to the excessive rain, the water drained at a faster pace than in previous years, which made the day pass by with relative calm for the majority of the population except for those who live or had to drive among 79th and 87th Avenues between 53 and 58 streets that experienced greater flooding.
However, as shared by Mayor Christi Fraga that day, by approximately noon, more than 40% of the city had been drained and in the rest of the afternoon canals continued to be opened in order to completely clear the streets.
Meanwhile, children in Miami-Dade County Public Schools went to school, although under the critical gaze of some parents who were against keeping schools open in the storm aftermath. One month after this event, what can be said about the decisions made and what lies ahead for both Doral residents and the education community?
The focal point of Doral
According to Christi Fraga, the November storm made it clear that work must be done on 79th Avenue. “This is a special case that we are still thinking how to approach. The problem is we cannot lift the ground on the entire Avenue since that would create a hole, resulting in a worse flooding,” she explains.
For this reason, the mayor’s proposal is to host a workshop next year with property owners of the area and under the consulting of an engineer, aiming at jointly thinking on solutions to mitigate the impact of the storms.
In addition to this project, the administration will execute others that are part of an approved five-year plan for storm water projects. “We have allocated $3 million of the budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year to be used in infrastructure improvements,” Fraga explains.
The school community
Regarding the county’s public schools, member of the school board for district 5, Danny Espino, said that classes weren’t canceled because the issues associated with the storm were localized and not widespread. In addition, there were no sustained wind gusts above 35 miles per hour. “We made the decision after contacting for feedback the National Hurricane Center and the Miami-Dade County Department of Emergency Management.”
Also, all school principals were contacted, and they confirmed their schools were dry, with the exception of only one. “Canceling classes would have meant that many parents couldn’t go to work.”
Regarding how the school district is preparing for new storms, Espino said they will continue working on their emergency plans and improving communications with other agencies and with neighboring counties in order to make the best decisions.