Shades of 2012? Pensacola Hit Again By Flooding Yr Ender
Torrential rain – more than 20 inches in some places -- fell on the Pensacola area at the end of April. Both residents and officials scrambled to assess the damage, as we hear in this year-ender report from WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody.
Gov. Rick Scott came to town and declared a state of emergency in 26 counties – including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton – eastward to Alachua County.
Scott also toured the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center, meeting with officials and respondents, before going out to see some of the hardest-hit areas. One of those areas is a stretch of Scenic Highway – from Cervantes Street to Scenic Highway Circle – that collapsed and was closed for about four months.
State Emergency Director Bryan Koon said they were already gearing up for the next step towards cleanup and fixing the damage, having been in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The flooding was blamed for two deaths, in separate accidents on Highway 29 in Cantonment. Among the damage was that sustained by Manna Food Pantries, whose downtown Pensacola office and warehouses were forced to close for three months.
Elsewhere, the Florida National Guard activated 75 troops and two dozen high-water vehicles at the direction of the state Division of Emergency Management.
Meanwhile, search-and-rescue crews and paramedics continued to pull people out of dangerous situations. And electricity was being restored in Gulf Power’s service area, which reaches from Pensacola to Panama City. Spokesman Jeff Rogers said the biggest cause for the outages had been the hundreds of lightning strikes as the storm virtually stalled over the Panhandle. And the local crews did not go it alone; counterparts from other Southern Company utilities pitched in as well.
The storm caused almost $14.8 million in damages to the City of Pensacola’s infrastructure. Disaster recovery centers were opened across the Panhandle, to help with the millions of dollars more in damages to homes and businesses.