Ten dead, dozens missing after flash floods in Tennessee
Rescue teams in the United States continue to search for dozens of people missing in Tennessee after flooding from heavy rains washed away homes and killed at least 10 people.
Flooding in rural Humphreys County destroyed roads, cell towers and phone lines, leaving families in doubt as to whether their loved ones survived the unprecedented flood and rescuers rushed through the door. to door, according to reports.
Company owner Kansas Klein watched from a bridge on Saturday morning at cars and entire homes swept up a road in Waverly, a town of about 4,500 residents.
After being ordered by authorities to leave, Mr. Klein returned a few hours later, shocked that the floodwaters had receded almost entirely and dismayed at the destruction left behind.
“It was amazing how far it came and how quickly it went,” he said.
Mr Klein said his restaurant, a New York-style pizzeria, was still standing, but the morning deluge of 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) of rain in Humphreys County caused the waters of flood 2.1 meters (7 feet) indoors. places, making it a total waste.
After leaving his restaurant, Mr Klein said he walked to nearby public housing and heard screams. He said a man had just recovered a baby’s body from one of the properties.
“I look at my restaurant thinking how horrible it was to have lost my restaurant, then I walk around the corner and see someone’s baby dead – my restaurant doesn’t mean much in that. moment, âKlein said.
The Town of Waverly’s public water system was under a boil water advisory until further notice.
Low-income homes – dozens of apartment blocks known as the Brookside – appeared to have borne the brunt of the flash flood, Klein said.
“It was devastating: buildings were overturned, half of them were destroyed,” he added.
“People were removing the bodies of people who had drowned and did not get out.”
Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said more than 30 people were missing.
Four shelters were set up on Saturday for residents whose homes had been flooded, and a high school in McEwen – which was hit by about 17 inches (43 cm) of rain in less than a day – was being used to reunite families .
Telephone lines cut during and after the storm complicated the search efforts, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
âThere were people inside the houses sleeping and waking up to their moving house as if it was coming down the stream,â said Michael Pate, a resident of McEwen.
Two of the bodies recovered were toddlers who had been taken away by their father, Mr Davis told a television station.
Precipitation at McEwan broke the state’s 24-hour record of 13.6 inches (34.5 cm) as of 1982, according to the National Weather Service Nashville.
Flood warnings remained in effect for parts of Humphreys County and Hickman County on Monday morning.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency called the situation “dangerous and evolving” and urged people to avoid travel to affected counties.
Referring to the floods of 2010 and 2019, Mr Klein said: âThis is the third century-old flood that we have had in about 10 years.
âBut it’s 100 times worse than either of them. The last report I saw was that there were 31 missing. It’s a small town, so chances are I will know most of these people.