Torrential rain causes widespread flooding in Florida panhandle
Torrential rainfall led to widespread flooding along the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday, and Pensacola came about 2 inches shy of matching its all-time rainfall record for a calendar day: 15.29 inches. On Saturday, Pensacola airport received 13.13 inches of rain. The previous record was set on October 5, 1934, as Tropical Storm 9 of that year was making landfall. The record for any 24 hour period is 17.1 inches, spanning Octover 4-5 in 1934, according to Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt.
A state of emergency was declared for Florida's Escambia County. According to the AP:
Emergency shelters were opened at a few local schools for people who were urged to evacuate from low-lying areas, the newspaper reported. Thousands were without power. Neighboring Santa Rosa County had about 40 homes flooded.
Streets were flooded throughout Mobile, Ala., which got 5.79 inches of rain. County authorities warned residents to stay off the roads until the waters receded and workers could look for damage and downed utilities.
The rain has since ended for now in the Gulf states, but images and video of the aftermath are still pouring in. The area is expected to receive more rain on Sunday, which could last until the middle of next week, as thunderstorms fire along a stationary front which is draped across the coastal states.
Figure 1. Widespread, heavy rain washes onto the Gulf shores on Saturday, enhanced by a lingering stationary front that's draped across the region. The heaviest rain fell in Pensacola, Florida, which came 2 inches shy of breaking its all-time calendar day rainfall record.
Video: Downtown Pensacola still flooded this evening after the rain had stop. The city's airport received 13.13 inches of rain since midnight.
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather