Speed Reads

wicked weather

Massive storm is drenching Florida with life-threatening rain


The monster storm that spawned dozens of tornados and killed at least 35 people in six states is now tormenting the Florida panhandle with massive amounts of rain. In Pensacola, flash flooding swallowed the area as more than 24 inches of rain fell in a 26-hour period. At least one person died Tuesday night from drowning.

The rain snarled traffic and closed several miles of the city's major highways, leaving hundreds of drivers stranded for hours. Florida Highway Patrol officers said they're still checking on stranded motorists this morning and don't have an estimate of how many are stuck. The severe weather prompted Escambia County officials to declare a local state of emergency.

"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," said a county spokesman this morning. "We've had people whose homes are flooding and they've had to climb up to the attic."

As the weather system marches east, rain will start tapering off in Florida later this morning. But several states including the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia are at risk for tornadoes, hail, and even more drenching rain.