Mark Humphrey / AP
Authorities in Nashville, Tenn. State, said four people were killed and 130 rescued after nearly record levels of rain caused significant flooding across the region.
“Although it looks beautiful outside, we still want people to be careful and aware, to be careful, to stay alive,” Nashville Fire Department Director William Swann told an early afternoon news conference.
The downpour has subsided in much of Central Tennessee since noon on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service Nashville. But parts of the region remain under flash flood clock during the evening, officials also ask the public to be vigilant because rising streams and rivers pose a constant danger of flooding.
“Continue to avoid flooded roads and refrain from swimming or walking through flood waters,” the agency said in Facebook post. “Not only can it sweep you away unexpectedly, but the water can contain chemicals and sewage.”
Approximately 1,700 customers were left without power early Sunday afternoon, up from 4,600 earlier in the morning, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said. He added that first responders continue to ask residents to avoid certain areas, and road closures and other conditions can be monitored in the event of an emergency Web page.
The Nashville Metro Police Department said it had found the remains of four people believed to have died in the floods. One man is pulled out of a limousine submerged by water pouring out of a stream; second the man was found dead on a golf course and is believed to have been “swept away by high water after getting out of a car that crashed off the road into a culvert”.
Police later he said they discovered the bodies of a man and a woman near a homeless camp, in a wooded area affected by flooding from a nearby stream.
MNPD city search and rescue officers have just pulled the deceased man out of this Honda limousine that was flooded from a stream near Wal-Mart on Harding Pl and Nolensville Pk. pic.twitter.com/xxppLhIM94
– Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 28, 2021
At a news conference, Nashville Police Chief John Drake attributed three of those deaths to flooding from Seven Mile Creek and determined the age of the confirmed victims. He said the man sunk in his vehicle was 70, the man on the golf course was 65, and the victims at the homeless camp were a 46-year-old and a 64-year-old.
Drake also noticed that one police officer is in the hospital and is recovering from injuries after currents swept him away during a rescue attempt in the water. He said that the policeman managed to get out of the car and cling to the tree until help arrived, and that a citizen who tried to provide help was stranded in the process.
“We haven’t come out of the woods yet,” Drake warned at the briefing. “This is still going on. Although the water today may not be so eventful, we still need to pay attention to it.”
The mayor also said the Cumberland River is expected to reach a 40-foot flood phase around 1pm CET, with a peak of 41.9 feet reaching just after midnight. The Harpeth River went through a 20-foot flood phase early Sunday morning and was expected to drop to 27.4 meters around 7 p.m. local time.
NWS had tweetao earlier in the morning that numerous rescue operations were underway on the water across southern Nashville, calling the situation life-threatening and citing reports of “people clinging to trees”.
Only two meters of moving water can take away a vehicle, the emergency management office warned. An update released at 7:30 a.m. local time said the Nashville Fire Department rescued at least 130 people from cars, apartments and houses.
Authorities said in one case that staff rescued at least 15 people stuck in a building whose “structure was threatened by a landslide”.
The first responders also helped rescue about 40 dogs from the Camp Bow Wow living room and safely transferred them to a nearby facility.
The Emergency Bureau is working with the U.S. Red Cross to provide shelter to people displaced by the floods, officials said. Cooper told a news briefing that they were the first to react by walking the beds of the creek and collaborating with the Red Cross to investigate the affected neighborhoods.
“As always, the Nashvillians are helping each other in difficult times. This is no exception,” Cooper said. “And please disguise yourself, reach out and help your neighbors.”
⚠️Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of water flowing fast can knock you down and two feet will float a car.
KoIf you are caught in a flooded road with fast rising waters, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. pic.twitter.com/CihoPiCK78
– American Red Cross of Tennessee (@RedCrossTN) March 28, 2021
In the severely affected district of Rutherford, sheriff’s office said Sunday morning that he had responded to reports of water rescues and people driving on water-covered roads, and urged people not to remove warning signs or warning tape.
Forty-nine roads were completely closed, 35 were partially closed, and 12 were reopened, according to An online dashboard updated by the county.
Officials make a comparison with historical flood in and around Nashville, killing at least 29 people and displacing thousands in May 2010.
“The rain we got yesterday and overnight made this one of the wettest 24-hour periods in Nashville history,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Shamburger Tennessee. “It’s the worst flood event we’ve seen since the May 2010 flood. But the main difference is that this event affected a much smaller area than the 2010 flood.”
NWS said early Sunday that the 6.69-inch two-day rains in Nashville are the second largest in its history, surpassing the previous record set in September 1979 and entering behind 13.57 inches recorded 1-2. May 2010
The Harpeth River is projected to climb to 34.8 feet on Sunday night, the agency said added, which would be the third highest recorded stage. Aerial photographs recorded by the Franklin Fire Department around 11:30 a.m. local time showing that the river is already starting to overflow.
These aerial photographs were taken approx. 15 min. before our FF / P drone operator Daniel Donegan. The most popular photos are Bridge St. on 1st Ave. N. The photographs below are Hillsboro Rd. in N. Margin St. pic.twitter.com/pe0GnxtTbc
– Firefighters Franklin, Franklin, TN (@FranklinFire) March 28, 2021
Scott Potter, director of Metro Water Services, said at the briefing that the water facilities are safe and not concerned about the effect of rising river levels, citing projected peaks lower than those in May 2010 and improvements made by the facilities. since then.
The mayor also noted that lessons from the 2010 floods helped the city prepare for an “improved flood response” in the form of well-trained fast water rescue teams and better real-time information sharing in subway departments.