Deadly Storms Bring Floods To US Gulf Coast
A severe storm system responsible for spawning deadly tornadoes in several states has brought flooding to parts of the South.Residents across the Florida Panhandle and along Alabama’s Gulf Coast were left stranded in homes and cars as heavy rains lashed the region overnight.
Officials said rescue crews were unable to respond to some calls early on Wednesday because of road flooding around Pensacola, Florida.
Escambia County spokesman Bill Pearson said some residents were forced to seek refuge in attics as water rushed into their homes.
He said: “It’s gotten to the point where we can’t send EMS and fire rescue crews out on some 911 calls because they can’t get there.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott said authorities had received about 300 calls for evacuation in the Pensacola area alone.
The National Weather Service estimated that 15 to 20in (38 to 50cm) of rain had fallen in Pensacola in the past 24 hours. The city’s average annual rainfall is 65in (165cm).
The flooding is the latest blow from a chain of storms that is blamed for at least 37 deaths across the US South and Midwest.
One 67-year-old woman in Florida died when she drove her car into high water, officials said.
Pensacola police officer Justin Cooper said some people were forced to leave their cars along flooded roads and walk to find help.
He said: “We have people at the police department. They walked up here and are hanging out until things get better.”
In Gulf Shores, Alabama, nearly 21in (53cm) of rain had fallen in 24 hours creating scenes in the area that resembled the aftermath of a hurricane.
JJ Andrews, a marina employee in Orange Beach, said: “We’ve got water up in our parking lots. Our docks are under water.
“It’s worse than during Hurricane Ivan, is what they’re saying. It’s crazy.”
Meanwhile, residents in other states, including the hardest-hit areas of Arkansas and Mississippi, are continuing to sift through the devastation left in the wake of a deadly chain of tornadoes spawned by the same storm system.
One half-mile-wide twister tore an 80-mile path of destruction near Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sunday night, killing at least 15 people.
Another 12 people were killed in Mississippi as tornadoes touched down there on Monday. Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Iowa also reported deaths attributed to the storms.