Image: Residents deal with flooding caused by record rainfall near the Gulf Coast of Florida
Dan Anderson  /  EPA
Josh Spinner inspects his water-surrounded home in Perdido, Fla. Sunday. More than 13 inches of rain has dumped on the area in the last 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service.
NBC News and news services
updated 6/10/2012 5:10:36 PM ET 2012-06-10T21:10:36

Floodwaters from torrential rains damaged homes and closed roads throughout the Florida Panhandle, cutting power to the county jail and sending residents to emergency shelters as the area braced for additional rains Sunday.

One swimmer was reported killed.

More than 600 inmates at the Escambia County Jail were without power and air conditioning after the rains left more than 5 feet of water in the bottom floor, which also houses the laundry and kitchen facilities. Extra deputies were brought in to beef up security, and generators powered lights outside the facility to shine into the jail. Officials worked Sunday to pump out the excess water and assess the damage.

"The whole electrical system is under water. It's going to be extensive damage," said Sgt. Mike Ward.

Video: Extreme weather plagues southern US (on this page)

The parking lot of the sheriff's office was completely flooded, leaving some patrol cars and other fleet vehicles with water up to the hood. Some homes and businesses also had several feet of water inside, he said. Authorities estimated $3 million to $4 million in damages at the sheriff's facilities.

More than 100 residents spent the night in three Red Cross shelters in Escambia County on Saturday night, including residents from a 50-unit apartment. Navy officials also set up housing for residents of a 22-home subdivision evacuated because of flooding, according to Red Cross officials.

It's difficult to assess the damage because many roads in Escambia County are still flooded. Emergency officials planned a more thorough inspection Monday after the waters recede. 

Escambia officials asked residents to stay home and not travel as more rainfall was expected Sunday night.

Video: Millions of dollars of damage in Southeast flooding (on this page)

More than 20 inches of rain had fallen and another 5-to-10 inches was expected before midnight Sunday, officials said.

Three people who ignored warnings and red flags went swimming at Pensacola Beach and had to be rescued, Escambia County officials told NBC News. One of them died at a hospital.

Much of the water had receded in nearby Santa Rosa County, but the area was under a flood warning. One fire department was offering 25 sandbags per person as the area braced for the possibility of another 4 to 8 inches of rain.

About 40 homes had some level of flooding around the city of Gulf Breeze, where heavy rains left about 4 feet of water. Fire rescue officials were still assessing the extent of the damage Sunday. One person was rescued from a car stranded in the high waters. Three swimmers were taken to the hospital Saturday night after getting caught in rough waters, Santa Rosa County spokeswoman Joy Tsubooka said.

"I have never seen rain like that before ... yesterday it was torrential for extended periods of time, like two or three hours it didn't let up at all," she said.

A Santa Rosa Sheriff's deputy also reported large amounts of debris after a tornado touched down near a flea market, but there was no major damage to buildings.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

© 2013

Video: Extreme weather plagues southern US

  1. Closed captioning of: Extreme weather plagues southern US

    >>> we're joined by weather channel meteorologist mike sideel in the middle of those historic flods in pensacola. mike, how are things there now?

    >> reporter: good evening, lester. we've picked up two mr inches of rain. the area has been able to handle two more inches. it's raining right now. take a look at the forecast. this moisture will continue to flow out of the gulf of mexico . tropical downpours spreading into the southeast. the gulf of mexico is wide open for bush administration . that cold front which is sparking some severe weather tonight in the midwest is going to spread the juice north. with the worst drought in the state of georgia , the area is going to get as much as two to three inches of rain. that's just what they need. not a drop of rain, with fires burning in five states. lighter winds will help firefighters. but with temperatures continuing average june warmth, and heat, and also low relative humidities of 5% to 15%, those are neither good. the firefighting is still going to be tough. the average high in phoenix is 103. that's typical this time of the year. meanwhi meanwhile, back in philadelphia, not as hot, but with temperatures forecast in the mid-80ings, they think it's hot enough to close schools early on monday.

    >> mike, thanks.


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