Pensacola flooding has stranded drivers and put lives in jeopardy after the worst rain the Florida city has seen in a generation.
A storm system that spurned destructive tornadoes in recent days struck Florida hard, dumping 2 feet of water in 26 hours. While residents of a stretch of the south ranging from Florida to North Carolina prepared for the possibility of more tornadoes, Pensacola residents were dealing with flooding that spread across the region.
The storm grew so intense that between 9 pm and 10 pm on Tuesday five inches of rain fell in Pensacola.
“It went on and on and on. It was relentless,” Cheryl Clendenon, who was stranded in her home in Pensacola Beach until a friend picked her up, told NBC News. “I used to like the sound of rain to help me get to sleep, but this was like Chinese water torture. It just did not stop.”
Officials believe the Pensacola flooding set a record, but could not verify it because a lightning strike took out the National Weather Service reporting station.
“We’ve had people whose homes are flooding and they’ve had to climb up to the attic,” said Bill Pearson, a spokesman for Escambia County. Pearson said the Pensacola flooding was the worst in at least 30 years.
A number of vehicles were stranded on the road when flood waters overtook their cars, and officials warn that there is still the potential for damage and death for those who venture out.
Some residents posted evidence of the Pensacola flooding, including pictures of flooded out backyards and even water filling up homes.
— Shawn Reynolds (@WCL_Shawn) April 30, 2014
This is not the first time Pensacola has faced devastating flooding. In 2012, a storm dumped 20 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, forcing more than 100 people in to area shelters.