A scenic highway in Pensacola collapsed from the flooding.
Photos Courtesy: http://www.breakingnews.com
by Carol Lim
Torrential rain late Tuesday night and this morning was too much for residents in the Pensacola, Florida-Mobile, Alabama area. The flash flood waters rose chest deep in downtown Pensacola and forced county, city offices and 2 Air Force bases in the Florida panhandle to shut down. As the storm system pushed east overnight and into the early morning hours, there also were thousands of lightening strikes. The National Weather Service reports 18.9 inches of rain fell in Milton, 17.7 inches in NW Pensacola and 12 inches in the North Pensacola-Destin area by 8 a.m. (a nine-hour period since Tuesday night). The heavy downpours caused disastrous flooding in south Baldwin County in Alabama and Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties in the western Florida panhandle.
“It’s like a hurricane hit the Gulf Coast,” said Escambia County spokesman Bill Pearson in an interview with the Weather Channel. As the flood waters recede, Pearson urged everyone to stay home today and call for help, if they need rescuing. Florida Fish and Wildlife boats and personal watercraft are being used to reach the stranded. The National Guard also are helping with rescues. Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and warned people to expect more rain and flooding. The Florida Highway Patrol reported one person drowned from the flooding. State officials say there were at least 300 requests for rescues.
CNN reports the heavy downpours and flash floods washed out roads in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Rushing water forced residents in a neighborhood north of Pensacola to flee to their attics. Parts of I-10 and U.S. Highway 98, the main east-west road along the Gulf Coast also were underwater. Stretches of highway between Fort Walton Beach and Panama City were closed. Drivers abandoned their cars along the flooded highway. Updates and photos of the flash flooding also were on Twitter and social media.
By early this afternoon, the streets of downtown Pensacola were dry, but offices and schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties remained closed today.
WFLA-TV reports the Salvation Army is on its way to deliver bottled water and supplies to the Pensacola area.
To donate money for the Pensacola, Florida flood and southern U.S.tornado victims, go to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org