PENSACOLA, Fla. - As Florida Panhandle residents and business owners started the long process Thursday of cleaning up as floodwaters receded, a food pantry with no space to store canned goods begged donors to give money instead.
Manna Food Pantries, in the Pensacola area, may be a total loss after 3 feet of water flooded food coolers and administrative offices. It can't accept food donations because it has nowhere to store them, said executive director DeDe Flounlacker. "If you were thinking of giving a can of food, give $5 instead," Flounlacker told the Pensacola News-Journal. "It's about as bad as it can be. Nobody got hurt, though, and we're glad for that."
Nearly 2 feet of rain drenched Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in the span of about 24 hours. Officials assessing the damage Thursday said they were exploring whether to have both counties declared disaster zones.
Burst water pipes in Gulf Breeze compounded flooding from the rain, and receding waters exposed buckled roadways. About 660 Gulf Power customers remained without power Thursday morning.
A boil-water notice remained in effect for parts of Pensacola along Escambia Bay. The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority lost three service trucks in the flooding, including one that maintenance workers used to help free a woman trapped in her car, said executive director Stephen E. Sorrell.
In Bay County, officials warned that even though the rains had passed, high water levels in lakes, rivers and reservoirs were straining flood-control measures and that more flooding and runoff may be possible.