Sheriff Heath Jackson in Escambia County said a suspected tornado"pretty much leveled" a mobile home park, toppled trees on homes and ripped the roof off of a high school gym. The majority of the damage was done in or near the towns of Brewton and East Brewton, about 48 miles (77 km ) north of Pensacola, Florida.
"I sort of affected everybody," Jackson said. "But with these mobile homes being built so close together it may take a toll on these a lot more than it could on homes which are spread apart."
There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths. Pictures of the Brewton area shared Facebook show toppled trees, such as one that landed on a house, and a lengthy stretch of debris a local news outlet said was out of a badly damaged trailer park.
Damage from the storm was also felt in north Florida, where winds -- in some instances reaching 85 mph (137 kph) -- caused by an 18-wheeler to flip on its side.
The National Hurricane Center announced Claudette organized enough to be eligible as a named storm in 4 a.m. Saturday, nicely after the storm's center of circulation had arrived ashore southwest of New Orleans. It was moving north-northeast in 14 mph (22 kph). Most of the heavy weather was occurring far to the north and east of the centre.
Early Saturday, the storm dropped flooding rains north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and across the Mississippi coast, inundating streets and, in some areas, pushing water to houses.
And though the storm was weakening, the National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm watch for portions of the North Carolina coast, which could feel the effects from Sunday night. The storm was forecast to cross into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, and recover tropical storm strength over open water Tuesday.
Residents of Pace, Florida, called 911 to report a potential twister that tore the roofs off two houses and damaged at least three others.
"Nobody's hurt," explained Sarah Whitfield, spokeswoman for Santa Rosa County, where the Florida homes were damaged. "We are just thankful it occurred after sunrise, but" not as people slept.
An 18-wheeler hit a few utility poles and turned on its side during the storm early Saturday. Debris from the crash, including a collapsed utility rod, turned to projectiles and struck a death SUV, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The accident report said wind gusts of 85 mph were clocked in the area. Highway Patrol officials were to close both lanes of the Interstate 10 bridge between Escambia and Santa Rosa counties as a result of high winds.
The county received two calls about trees falling onto houses, but no one was home at the time.
The storm left tens of thousands without power and a few flights were being canceled or delayed at Pensacola International Airport.
"We've got a lot of visitors that are here traveling," she explained. "Red flags flying out at the beaches so there's absolutely no swimming"
Forecasters said Claudette could ditch 5 to 10 inches (12 to 25 centimeters) of rain in the area, with isolated accumulations of 15 inches (38 centimeters) possible.
"We've got little squalls operating through. It'll rain really very difficult for a couple of minutes and slack to get a couple of minutes," explained Glen Brannan of the Mobile County, Alabama, Emergency Management Agency premature Saturday.
Residents of Slidell, Louisiana, north of Lake Pontchartrain, reported flooded water and streets in some neighborhoods as the storm pushed onshore overnight. Slidell authorities said the flood had mostly receded by daybreak, after swamping as many as 50 cars and trucks with water.
The majority of people riding out the storm had power when they woke up Saturday morning. The website poweroutage.us reported roughly 22,000 outages total across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
The storm struck on a weekend when a lot on the Gulf Coast intended to celebrate Juneteenth and Father's Day.
Business owners across the Gulf Coast, from restaurateurs to swamp boat operators, had expected a influx of tourist cash after a year of lost earnings due to this coronavirus pandemic.
"My main concern is the fact that it pushes away a weekend, and might just wind up being a lot of rain," Austin Sumrall, both the chef and owner at the White Pillars Restaurant and Lounge at Biloxi, Mississippi, said Friday.
He'd 170 reservations on his books for Sunday, but was concerned some sponsors could cancel.
"We saw, especially last year, the rug can get jerked out from under you fairly fast," he explained.
Back in Louisiana, the threat came a month following spring storms and flooding which were blamed for five deaths, and as parts of the nation continued a slow recovery from a barbarous 2020 hurricane year.
Separately, Tropical Storm Dolores made landfall on Mexico's west coast with near-hurricane force. The storm's center was located approximately 50 miles (75 kilometers) southeast of Manzanillo, Mexico, a town of about 160,000 people. Its maximum sustained winds were clocked at 70 mph (110 kph), and it was moving north-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).
Heavy rainfall of six to ten inches (roughly 15 to 25 centimeters) was anticipated across the southwest and western coastal regions of Mexico throughout the weekend. Forecasters were warning of the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides.