Heavy rainfall floods Florida’s panhandle
by Kelli Kennedy, Associated Press
June 11, 2012 01:08 AM | 1114 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cars make their way through floodwaters on Brent Lane following heavy rains Saturday in Pensacola, Fla. The National Weather Service said 13.11 inches fell on Pensacola over 24 hours by Saturday, coming close to the city’s all-time record of 15.29 inches set in 1934, causing what could be millions of dollars in flood damage in the Pensacola area alone with more rain on the way.<br>The Associated Press
Cars make their way through floodwaters on Brent Lane following heavy rains Saturday in Pensacola, Fla. The National Weather Service said 13.11 inches fell on Pensacola over 24 hours by Saturday, coming close to the city’s all-time record of 15.29 inches set in 1934, causing what could be millions of dollars in flood damage in the Pensacola area alone with more rain on the way.
The Associated Press
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MIAMI — Floodwaters from torrential rains damaged homes and closed roads throughout the Florida Panhandle, cutting power to the county jail and sending residents to emergency shelters as the area braced for additional rains Sunday.

A tornado connected with the storm system also uprooted trees and destroyed chicken houses Sunday in southeastern Alabama, where an emergency official said a few homes were damaged but no injuries were reported.

“I actually saw it myself coming out of our church door — my first tornado I have ever witnessed,” said Margaret Mixon, emergency management director for rural Geneva County.

More than 600 inmates at the Escambia County Jail in Florida were without power and air conditioning after the rains left more than 5 feet of water in the bottom floor, which also houses the laundry and kitchen facilities. Extra deputies were brought in to beef up security, and generators powered lights outside the facility to shine into the jail. Officials worked Sunday to pump out the excess water and assess the damage.

“The whole electrical system is underwater. It’s going to be extensive damage,” said Sgt. Mike Ward.

The parking lot of the sheriff’s office was completely flooded, leaving some patrol cars and other fleet vehicles with water up to the hood. Some homes and businesses also had several feet of water inside, he said. Authorities estimated $3 million to $4 million in damages at the sheriff’s facilities.

Sunday’s rain could have been worse, coming on top of Saturday’s record rainfall. After getting more than 13 inches on Saturday, Pensacola only saw another 1.92 inches of rain Sunday. Mobile had 5.79 inches on Saturday and another 2.79 inches Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters originally feared that another 4 to 8 inches would fall Sunday on the coast, but the storm system pulled more of the precipitation farther inland, meteorologist Eric Esbensen said.
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