At least 13 tornadoes tore through the Deep South Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. One ripped through Pensacola, with some residents today beginning to pick up the pieces.
The numbers are staggering – some homes along Scenic Road were razed, as the twister touched down and ripped a path through along Interstate-10.
“Our preliminary estimates are that the [tornado’s] track was a path of two miles, from Northpointe Boulevard to Scenic Highway,” said Escambia County spokeswoman Joy Tsubooka.
The bulk of such damage was at The Moorings apartment complex on Old Spanish Trail – three buildings housing two dozen apartments were destroyed; six other units sustained minor damage. All residents have been evacuated, with search and rescue efforts continuing overnight. Six people were reported injured, with no fatalities.
The Moorings residents were taken to Cokesbury United Methodist Church on Summit Boulevard by the American Red Cross. Tonya Holloway represented the organization at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center.
“We can house as many as capacity will allow,” said Holloway. “However, if it gets to be filling up we’ll open another location. People can stay there as long as the need is there.”
Escambia County Administrator Jack Brown headed the work at the EOC. He says damage assessment and cleanup get underway in earnest at first light.
“We’ve had law enforcement and firefighters going through, looking for casualties,” Brown said. “It looks like right now it’s more property destruction than loss of life. You don’t want to lose either, but certainly property can be rebuilt.”
Only Monday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Escambia County for the Century tornado. Brown is hoping that can be expanded to Pensacola, to get federal disaster assistance.
Morning commuters are advised to leave early, to maneuver around the road closings, including some connecting to Olive Road: Old Spanish Trail; 9th Avenue, Scenic Highway, and Northpointe.
More information is available by calling the county’s Information Center at 471-6600.