Heavy rain and thunderstorms affected most of Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties Wednesday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon made its way north.
Gordon was just shy of hurricane force strength as it made landfall near Pascagoula, Mississippi, at 70 mph near midnight Tuesday. The storm weakened to a tropical depression Wednesday but still produced wind, heavy rain and thunderstorms that toppled trees and flooded parts of Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties.
The storm also claimed the life of a child, reported to be about 10 months old, after a large oak tree branch fell onto a mobile home in Pensacola just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office. No one else was injured.
The National Weather Service said Santa Rosa and Escambia counties were hit the hardest in Northwest Florida. Western Santa Rosa County received as much as 10 inches of rain.
The rest of Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties averaged 2 to 4 inches of rain.
Flash flood warnings were called off in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties by 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Local beaches were mostly vacant Wednesday morning and into the afternoon. Double-red flags continued to fly, and officials said the few beachgoers present were very cooperative by staying out of the water. No drownings were reported.
Beach officials hope to have single-red flags up by Thursday.
Gulf Islands National Seashore closed three of its areas Wednesday, including State Road 399 on Santa Rosa Island west of Navarre Beach. Standing water and sand covered portions of the road.
Crews will begin clearing the roads once the rain stops and the water recedes, according to a press release from National Seashore. They will then inspect the closed areas for any damage.
Gordon will continue to lose strength as it heads northwest across the lower Mississippi Valley and beyond.
Gordon was the first tropical system to affect Northwest Florida since hurricane season began June 1. Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in Panama City Beach on May 28, and the Atlantic basin hasn’t produced any storms that threatened the United States since then.
However, forecasters are turning their attention to Hurricane Florence, which has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and his heading toward Bermuda. Another potential storm likely will form not far from the African coast.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.