The mayor of Nashville declared a state of emergency yesterday afternoon after turbulent weather in Tennessee left extreme flooding and four dead residents.
Mayor John Cooper tweeted: “I signed an executive order declaring a local state of emergency due to flooding in Nashville, as we seek state and federal resources to assist Davidson County.”
Authorities said four bodies were found yesterday in the flood’s aftermath.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said three of the bodies were found after Seven Mile Creek flooded. The body of a 70-year-old man whose car was submerged in the creek was found behind a store, and the bodies of a 46-year-old woman and a 64-year-old man were found in a wooded area near a homeless camp.
Drake said a 65-year-old man’s body was found on a golf course. Police later identified him as Douglas Hammond, who lived nearby and was swept away as he got out of his car that had become stuck in floodwaters.
The torrential rains across Tennessee flooded homes and at least one church and left roads impassable, prompting dozens of people to be rescued in the Nashville area.
Nashville received more than 7 inches of rain, the second-highest two-day rainfall total ever recorded.
Nashville Fire Chief William Swann said swift-water teams were placed on standby in anticipation of the storms. At least 130 people were rescued from cars, apartments and homes, while about 40 dogs were moved from a Nashville boarding kennel, Camp Bow Wow, to another location.
Cooper said first responders walked along creek beds yesterday and worked with the Red Cross to canvass affected neighborhoods.
To the south in Williamson County, over 34 swift water rescues were carried out, according to county Emergency Management Agency Director Todd Horton. As many as 18 homes in one neighborhood had to be evacuated.
A portion of Interstate 40 was temporarily shut down due to high water that stranded a vehicle and its driver. The driver was able to get out of the vehicle and to safety. First responders also told drivers to avoid part of I-24 south of Nashville.
Major flooding was forecast on two rivers. The weather service predicted the Harpeth River near Kingston Springs, west of Nashville, would crest about 20 feet above flood stage last night, while the Duck River at Centerville would crest about 17 feet above flood stage this morning.
Many rivers and creeks were at or near their highest level since 2010, according to the National Weather Service. Floods in May 2010 caused 21 deaths in Tennessee and an estimated $1.5 billion in damage in Nashville.