Cities Journal

Torrential Rainfall Submerges Pensacola, Florida

1-pensacola-flickr-Keoni Cabral
Photo credit: Keoni Cabral / Flickr

On Tuesday April 29th and Wednesday April 30th, 2014 it rained a lot in Pensacola, Florida. Official rainfall totals for the day were recorded at just over 11 inches, but many areas of the city got much more.

Just between the hours of 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Tuesday night the city saw five inches of rainfall, more than it had seen in 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, The storm wasn’t a hurricane; it was a thunderstorm and it left damage behind that could rival many of the hurricanes that have passed through the region.

According to NBC News the storm went beyond Florida and stretched to Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia where to storm related deaths were reported and the area was peppered with tornado warnings.

Flooded Roads

NBC News also revealed that the torrential rain wreaked havoc on the roads as well. Water was rising fast and one Florida man was killed when his car was stuck in the rising water. On Wednesday morning, Florida Highway Patrol kept busy checking the roads for drivers stranded on the road.

In their homes, many were climbing into their attics to escape the rising water. The rain was most likely record breaking, NBC News surmises, but forecasters couldn’t confirm this definitively since the National Weather Service reporting station was knocked out by lightening.

Even with the conservative estimate of 11 inches of rain, the total showers into third place in record books that date back 130 years, the Washington Post reported. The month ending storm brought April rain totals in the city up above 33 inches for the month, NBC News revealed.

Exact rainfall totals across isolated areas of Pensacola were varied, but many areas saw over 20 inches within a 24 hour period. WeatherBug reported that the rainfall at Escambia Sheriff’s Office in Pensacola measured in at over 26 inches according to the Washington Post.

The S-shaped storm attacked much of the region, and Pensacola, Florida and Mobile, Alabama saw a great deal of damage from the resulting flooding and the force of the wind and water.

Devastating Water Damage

With one to two feet or more of rain falling in the span of the day, things got more than just wet in Pensacola. Large parts of homes, vehicles, mailboxes, and yards dipped under the water. Many homes had exposed sewage due to the flooding. The damage extended beyond people’s yards, and was severe enough to warrant a tour by Florida Governor, Rick Scott, according to Pensacola News Journal.

Scott’s tour took him by some of the most heavily damaged areas including Piedmont Road and Forest Creek Apartment Complex in West Pensacola. The damage to Piedmont Road was extremely severe as the weight of the water uprooted the asphalt leaving gigantic cavities that were chest deep and up to thirty feet wide in some places, the Pensacola News Journal revealed.

Forest Creek Apartments, another spot on the governor’s tour, was hit hard as well. Those in first floor apartments needed to evacuate by 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, as more than five feet of water had seeped into their units. Since the complex’s parking lot was also out of commission, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers carried many residents to safety by boat.

A Promise of Help

Seeing the devastation first hand seems to be making an impact on Florida’s governor who promised to look into both Federal and State level relief for those hot hardest by the storm. In addition to Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers, Scott said he would look into the possibility of assistance from the National Guard and other Federal Aid.

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