Rescue teams in the US desperately search this Sunday among shattered houses and debris to dozens of people missing after unprecedented rain caused flooding in central Tennessee.
At least 10 people died, including twin boys who were snatched from their father’s arms, according to surviving relatives. Authorities fear the death toll could rise.
Floods in rural areas destroyed roads, cell phone towers and telephone lines, leaving families without knowing if their loved ones survived the flood. Emergency workers search door-to-door, said Kristi Brown, coordinator of supervisory health and safety for Humphreys County Schools.
Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said that many of the missing live in neighborhoods where the water rose the fastest.
Up to 17 inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours on Saturday, apparently breaking Tennessee’s record for rainfall in a day by more than 8 centimeters, the National Weather Service said.
A swollen Garner Creek is seen from a bridge on Garner Creek Road after heavy rain. (Josie Norris / The Tennessean via AP)
Storm lines moved over the area for hours, generating a record amount of moisture, a scenario that scientists warned could be more common due to global warming.
The downpours quickly turned the streams running behind the backyards and through downtown Waverly into raging rapids.. A witness saw two girls holding a puppy and clinging to a wooden board, the current was too fast for anyone to grab them.
Not sure what happened to them. The man heard that a girl and a cub had been rescued downstream, and that another girl was also saved, but he wasn’t sure if it was them.
For the Sunday, the floodwaters had disappeared, leaving debris from wrecked cars, demolished businesses and homes and a chaotic, tangled mix of things inside.
“It was amazing how fast it came and how fast it went,” said one local resident.
A truck and a car are found in a creek on Sunday, August 22, 2021, after they were washed away the day before in McEwen, Tennessee. (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)
The Humphrey County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page filled with people looking for missing family and friends. The GoFundMe pages were made asking for help with funeral expenses for the dead, including 7-month-old twins who were ripped from their father’s arms as they tried to escape.
Not far from the bridge, dozens of buildings in a low-income housing area known as Brookside appeared to have suffered the brunt of the flash flood.
“It was devastating: the buildings were demolished, half of them were destroyed,” said a resident of the area. “People took out the bodies of people who had drowned and couldn’t get out”.
Davis told the media Saturday about the 10 confirmed deaths and more than 30 missing people in his county, located about 60 miles west of Nashville.
The dead ranged from infants to the elderly and included one of his best friends, the county sheriff of 18,000 told WSVM-TV on Sunday.
Michael Pate, right, watches a road being repaired Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in McEwen, Tennessee. (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)
“Small town, small community. We know each other. We love each otherDavis said.
Just east of Waverly, the town of McEwen was hit with 17 inches of rain on Saturday, breaking the 24-hour state record of 13 inches from 1982, according to the National Weather Service in Nashville.
A flash flood watch was issued for the area before the rain started, and forecasters said it was possible for 10 to 15 centimeters of rain. The worst storm ever recorded in this area of central Tennessee only dropped 23 centimeters of rainsaid Krissy Hurley, a meteorologist with the weather service in Nashville.
“Predicting near a record is something we don’t do very often,” Hurley said. “Double the amount we had seen was almost unfathomable.”
One wrecked after the floods. (Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean via AP)
Recent scientific research has determined that extreme rains will be more frequent due to man-made climate change. Hurley said it’s impossible to know its exact role in Saturday’s flooding, but noted that last year his office dealt with floods that used to be expected perhaps once every 100 years in September south of Nashville and closer to March in March. the city.
“We had an incredible amount of water in the atmosphere,” Hurley said of Saturday’s flooding. “The thunderstorms developed and moved through the same area over and over again.”
The problem is not limited to Tennessee. A federal study found that man-made climate change doubles the chances of the types of heavy downpours that dumped 26 inches of rain around Baton Rouge, Louisiana in August 2016.. Those floods killed at least 13 people and damaged 150,000 homes.