Record amounts of rain dropped on the central Gulf coast on Saturday, causing what could be millions of dollars in flood damage in the Pensacola area alone with more rain on the way.
The storm battered parts of Alabama and Florida with authorities in Pensacola, Florida, declaring a state of emergency and sending out boats to rescue residents of flooded homes.
The National Weather Service said 13.11 inches fell on Pensacola over 24 hours by Saturday, coming close to the city's all-time record of 15.29 inches set in 1934.
The rain hit a lull by Saturday night, but NWS meteorologist Jason Beaman said they expected more showers and thunderstorms overnight and more intense rain again on Sunday and into Monday.
Mobile, Alabama, saw 15 inches of rain that stranded people in cars and caused a dam to break on a private lake, officials said.
Pensacola and Mobile, which are less than 60 miles apart, have been the worst-hit areas, said Mike Pigott, senior meteorologist with Accuweather.com. Those have 'kind of been two bull's eyes to be honest with you,' he said.
The Florida Panhandle's Escambia County declared a state of emergency.
Sheriff David Morgan told the Pensacola News Journal that he estimated the damage around the county at around $20 million. The sheriff's department's central booking building was among the buildings flooded.
A massive surge of floodwater at a Pensacola apartment complex stranded many first-floor tenants, and about 100 people had to be rescued, said Jacob Conner, volunteer communications commander for Escambia County Search and Rescue.
'We came in with two rescue boats the size of fishing boats,' Conner said. 'We ran a three-hour rescue operation. We were rescuing families, children, babies and elderly residents.'
Emergency shelters were opened at a few local schools for people who were urged to evacuate from low-lying areas, the newspaper reported. Thousands were without power. 'We estimate that a couple of hundred people are flooded out,' said county communications coordinator Cam Johnson.
Neighboring Santa Rosa County had about 40 homes flooded.
In Alabama between Dawes and Saint Elmo, which are within 10 miles of each other and southwest of Mobile, there were reports of more than 18 inches of rain on Saturday, Accuweather.com said on its site.
'Mobile has seen tremendous flooding,' Jason Beaman, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in south Alabama, said.
'People have had to be rescued from vehicles, businesses and homes. Some of the people in cars either underestimated the depth of the water, or it came up on them fast.'
On a 14-acre private lake in the Mobile area, a dam broke due to rising waters and people were stranded in their homes, Beaman said.