Pensacola Under Historical Flooding

We sure don’t know how many ‘historical’ events it’s going to take before the 34% of those who don’t think the weather is changing change their minds.  Following some of the most powerful tornadoes on record, the Florida-Mississippi coast line, especially Pensacola, got an historic drenching — worse than during Hurricane Ivan, which dumped 3-7 inches of rain,  according to some residents.

About 22 inches of rain had fallen by midmorning in Pensacola, with 4 more expected Wednesday. Average annual rainfall for Pensacola is 65 inches, meaning much of that area was seeing about a third of that amount in just one day.

In some neighborhood, streets flowed like rivers as water reached mailboxes. Cars were submerged in driveways, and residents paddled by on kayaks.  NoLa

A road bed after  heavy rains on April 30, 2014 in Pensacola, Florida.

A road bed after heavy rains on April 30, 2014 in Pensacola, Florida.

The National Weather Service called the event “historic.” The official rain gauge at Pensacola’s airport measured an astonishing 5.68 inches in a single hour before it failed around 10 p.m. Tuesday. An analysis by the NWS office in Mobile, Alabama, estimated that single hour to be a 1-in-200- to 1-in-500-year event. The official rain gauge and weather radar both gave out, presumably from lightning strikes, so we might never know exactly how much rain fell Tuesday night.* Still, several unofficial rain gauges measured impressive totals.  [Slate]

Heavy Downpours Increasing

Heavy Downpours Increasing




And it’s not all kayaks and complaining.  A massive gas explosion, apparently set off by flooding the knocked out a retaining wall, has killed at least two prisoners and allowed three to escape county jail — which is to say, the results of severe weather are unpredictable.  Trying to adapt to what we can’t prepare for is sure to bring enormous knock-on effects, at every level.

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