In the heart of Escambia County, Florida, a violent tempest, complete with a verified tornado, wreaked havoc on Thursday night, tragically claiming one life. The victim, found under a fallen tree that had crashed into their home, was pronounced dead at the scene, as reported by county spokesperson Andie Gibson. The distress call was received at 8:38 p.m. from the 500 block of Coker Lane, prompting a swift response from Escambia County Fire Rescue and the Emergency Medical Service.
1 dead as tornado topples tree onto Escambia County home https://t.co/RaGNb3DRMt
— Jimmy Carter (@askjimmycarter) June 16, 2024
The Sheriff’s Office of Escambia County, represented by spokesperson Morgan Lewis, reported numerous calls regarding storm damage and power outages, particularly around News Warrington Road and Jackson Street. Despite the chaos, no injuries were reported as of 10 p.m. Deputies were ordered to “shelter in place” during the severe weather, but were ready to respond to major calls and assess the damage once the conditions improved.
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The storm, accompanied by a tornado warning, swept across the west side of Pensacola before moving out over Pensacola Bay around 8 p.m. The National Weather Service confirmed the presence of a tornado on the ground as it moved west of Gulf Breeze and crossed Santa Rosa Island at the western end of Pensacola Beach.
Starting to get flooded roadway reports across Pensacola. Please stay off the roadways as more rain moves into the area. Also please safely send us your storm reports If you can. https://t.co/2c3gkBTpef
— NWS Mobile (@NWSMobile) June 16, 2024
A house fire was reported on East Galvez Court on Pensacola Beach. The blaze was brought under control by 9:40 p.m., but the extent of the damage remains unknown, according to Gibson. By 10:30 p.m., the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama, warned of an increased risk of flash flooding.
The storm continued to batter Warrington, West Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, and Pensacola Beach, with over 5 inches of rain already recorded and more expected. The weather service urged residents to stay off the roads due to flooding and incoming rain.
According to Florida Power and Light’s interactive power tracker map, over 8,200 customers in Escambia County and 180 in Santa Rosa County were without power as of 8:35 p.m. Thursday night. Power outages were widespread throughout Escambia County, primarily in the West Pensacola communities around Warrington and Brownsville. Santa Rosa County also experienced scattered outages, with Gulf Breeze, Navarre, and East Milton being the most affected.
As the storm continues to unfold, updates will be provided. The original story was first reported by the Pensacola News Journal.