PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. - Flood warnings extended along the Gulf Coast from Florida’s Panhandle into Mississippi as heavy rain Monday threatened a repeat of weekend downpours and storms that damaged houses, blacked out a jail, and spun off at least one tornado in Alabama.
A 23-year-old Mississippi man drowned off Florida’s Pensacola Beach and more than a dozen other swimmers were ordered out of rough surf amid heavy rain that caused widespread flooding over the weekend, officials said. The man’s name has not been released.
The storms forced the evacuation of a 200-unit apartment complex in Pensacola. Many residents found severe flood damage when they returned Sunday afternoon.
The National Weather Service said rip tides were a danger along the coast and more flooding was possible, although the intensity of the downpours was abating.
A tornado uprooted trees and damaged a few homes Sunday in southeastern Alabama, but no injuries were reported.
More than 600 inmates at the Escambia County Jail in Florida were without power and air conditioning after the rains left more than 5 feet of water in the bottom floor. Extra deputies were brought in to beef up security, and generators powered lights to shine into the jail from the outside.