WEATHER

Nashville Declares Emergency After Deadly Flash Flooding

Mar 28, 2021, 4:41 PM
The National Weather Service said there were multiple water rescues ongoing across southern Nashvil...
The National Weather Service said there were multiple water rescues ongoing across southern Nashville, Tennessee. (WSMV)
(WSMV)

(CNN) — Nashville has declared a state of emergency after flash flooding overnight Saturday killed at least four people in the area.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper signed an executive order declaring the state of emergency Sunday, saying in a tweet that Davidson County would need state and federal resources after the severe weather.

“We send our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the four Nashvillians who died in last night’s flooding,” Cooper said in separate post on Twitter. “Metro’s first responders have worked tirelessly following the city’s second-highest ever two-day rainfall, which flooded neighborhoods across the county.”

Flooding Saturday evening into early Sunday morning led to reports of people clinging to trees and taking refuge in their attics to avoid rising water, the National Weather Service in Nashville said.

The Nashville Fire Department’s swift water rescue teams had pulled at least 130 people from vehicles and homes as of Sunday morning, the Nashville Office of Emergency Management said.

Search and rescue crews found a deceased man inside a car submerged by floodwater near a Walmart store next to a creek, the Metro Nashville Police Department said on Twitter. It later gave his age as 70The weather service earlier reported water entering a Walmart store in southern Nashville with cars in the parking lot submerged up to their windows.

A second man was found dead on the Nashboro Village golf course, police said.

He was identified as 65-year-old Douglas Hammond, according to a tweet on the Metro Nashville Police Department’s (MNPD) verified Twitter account. Police characterized Hammond as an “apparent drowning victim,” and said he lived near the golf course.

Police believe Hammond was “swept away by flood waters after getting out of his car that had become stuck on Flintlock Ct,” near the Nashboro golf course, the MNPD said.

The bodies of a man, 64, and woman aged 46 were also found Sunday near a homeless camp adjacent to Wentworth-Caldwell Park, police said.

At least 15 people were rescued from an apartment complex after a building was damaged by a mudslide, the fire department said. Two of those rescued were taken to local hospitals with non-critical injuries.

The fire department said it also rescued about 40 dogs from a pet day care facility called Camp Bow Wow.

Rainfall totals across the middle Tennessee region since Saturday ranged from 4 to 8 inches, the NWS said. The Brentwood area of Nashville may have received 7 to 9 inches of rain, according to radar rainfall estimates.

The Nashville airport recorded at least 7 inches of rain since Saturday — making the two-day rainfall total the second-largest on record, trailing only 13.5 inches of rain that fell from May 1 to 2, 2010. More than 5 inches of rain fell between 10 p.m. local time Saturday and 5 a.m. Sunday, the NWS said.

The fast-falling rain inundated several rivers, creeks and streams, forcing them to breach their banks. Moderate-to-major river flooding was ongoing across the region Sunday morning.

The Cumberland River, which flows through downtown Nashville, was expected to reach its flood stage, which is 40 feet, just after 1 p.m. local time Sunday and peak at 41.9 feet shortly after midnight, according to Nashville Mayor John Cooper.

First responders are working with the Red Cross to walk creek beds and canvass affected neighborhoods, Cooper said.

Mill Creek at Woodbine, on Nashville’s south side, crested at 20.8 feet, the second-highest level on record. “All the creeks and streams in southern Davidson County appear to have crested now and are falling,” according to the NWS office in Nashville.

In Mount Juliet, an entire shopping center was submerged in water, according to a storm report from the weather service.

“Roadways across the area are extremely dangerous, with many flooded,” Mount Juliet Police Capt. Tyler Chandler wrote on Twitter. “Please, if you are in a safe area, stay where you are. Do not travel, and definitely do not attempt to drive through flood waters. Our emergency responders are handling multiple incidents.”

Another report said some residents were trapped in attics of their homes near Woodbine. The Metro Nashville Fire Department said early Sunday emergency crews were responding to residents impacted by the severe weather across the county.

In Williamson County, south of downtown Nashville, emergency crews responded to more than 34 swift water rescue calls from both vehicles and homes, Emergency Management Director Todd Horton said during a virtual news conference early Sunday. More than 50 roads were closed across the county.

Eight homes were struck by lightning during the storms, Horton said.

The Harpeth River at Franklin is rising and expected to crest at just under 34.8 feet, the weather service said. “If that is accurate, it will reach a level that is about six inches less than the May 2010 flood, which was at 35.3 feet,” Horton said.

The Brentwood Fire Department was going door-to-door Sunday to check on residents who live near the Harpeth River, Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar said. Emergency officials conducted multiple water rescues of those trapped in their homes.

The flash flooding is expected to recede as the rain ends Sunday morning, but the river flooding will take more time to clear. Several rivers will not fall below flood stage for the next 24 to 48 hours.

The next chance for rain across Tennessee and Nashville will be from Tuesday night into Wednesday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

Flash flood watches are in effect for parts of surrounding states with more rainfall expected. The floods come just days after strong storms and tornadoes gripped parts of the South, killing at least six people. Rains from the earlier storm system have left the ground extremely saturated and rivers already swollen.

Tornado damage reported

There were also reports of possible tornado damage in the wake of the storm system.

Late Saturday afternoon, radar showed possible twin tornadoes in middle Tennessee, about 80 miles southwest of Nashville — one near Linden and the other just east of Lexington. Two houses were “extensively damaged, one of which was destroyed” by a tornado Saturday evening in Middlefork, near Lexington, Henderson County Sheriff Brian Duke told CNN.

Several structures and homes were also damaged Saturday night when a tornado moved through Rusk County, Texas, according to David Chenault, spokesperson for the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management.

“We have had quite a bit of damage in the Mount Enterprise area of Rusk County,” Chenault said.

Most of the roads in that area were blocked by downed trees, the spokesperson said, and utilities are out. The NWS has not officially confirmed any tornadoes in Mount Enterprise but a tornado warning was in effect around 7 p.m., when the damage happened.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Weather

Two semi trucks and multiple cars are off the roads and blocking the roadway....
Brooke Williams

I-15 closed after multi-vehicle crash in winter road conditions in Juab

Several cars including UHP troopers, crashed on I-15 in snowy road conditions.
2 days ago
infographic showing where the snow will be heaviest....
Brooke Williams

Snow storm to affect driving conditions Wednesday, Thursday

A snow storm is expected to impact road conditions this week.
2 days ago
The Utah backcountry (KSL-TV)...
Mike Anderson & Jed Boal, KSL-TV

Utah Avalanche Awareness week provides training for skiers

The Utah Avalanche Center is offering classes on how to prepare yourself for avalanches during Avalanche Awareness Week.
4 days ago
FILE PHOTO: The Chickadee lift is pictured at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Oct...
Michael Houck and Brooke Williams

Avalanche triggered at Snowbird resort, no injuries reported

Rescue crews responded to the Snowbird Ski Resort after an avalanche was triggered on a trail. 
6 days ago
remote learning after snow storm...
Katija Stjepovic, KSL TV

Canyons School District quickly switched to remote learning after Friday’s snowstorm

Friday’s early morning storm impacted multiple school districts across the Wasatch Front. Several districts adjusted start times and some even canceled classes.
7 days ago
Infographic showing snow storm coverage across the state....
Brooke Williams and Shara Park, KSL TV

High winds, heavy snow warning for ‘hazardous conditions’ Friday morning

A heavy snow storm is expected to move in overnight, bringing several inches Friday morning.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Nashville Declares Emergency After Deadly Flash Flooding