Gov. Scott Declares State Of Emergency In Panhandle

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Hit with up to 20 inches of rain, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in the panhandle and big bend.

Scott issued the proclamation early Wednesday and mobilized the Florida National Guard to help.

Heavy rains started falling over the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday, drenching parts of Pensacola with between 15 and 20 inches of rain.

The Florida Highway Patrol says a 67-year-old Betty Faye Word died when drove her Mercedes Benz into high water Tuesday night and it submerged. She did not escape.

At least 36 deaths have been reported from the large, stubborn storm system making its way through the South after cutting a destructive path through parts of the central U.S.

Mississippi and Arkansas saw the most fatalities, as well as the most destruction from violent tornadoes.

Deaths also were reported in Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Iowa.

Officials in Escambia County say many people were stranded in their cars while others climbed to the attics of their homes waiting to be rescued.

Parts of Interstate 10 north of Pensacola were also closed on Wednesday for a period time due to flooding.

The National Guard is sending high-wheeled vehicles to Pensacola on Wednesday to assist with rescues.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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