Nashville flash flood leaves four dead and dozens of homes and businesses destroyed

Authorities identified two of the four victims as men in their 60s and 70s who drowned after driving as floodwaters ravaged the area.

More than a hundred people had to be rescued from fast rising waters that flooded communities and damaged homes and businesses, the Nashville Fire Department said in an update Sunday night.
A resident from one apartment building in Antioch, south of Nashville, told CNN affiliate WZTV that she woke up to a mudslide compromising the building.

“You don’t think that tiny little creek can get that vicious,” Abbe Bolduc told the affiliate. She was one of 15 people rescued from the CityVue Apartments Sunday, WZTV reported.

The flood is one of the latest tragedies to befall the city of Nashville, which in the last year has experienced a damaging tornado, a deadly derecho and a Christmas morning bombing.
Mayor John Cooper announced late Sunday on Twitter that he had declared a state of emergency to help get local and federal resources to recover from the devastation.
“Metro’s first responders have worked tirelessly following the city’s second-highest ever two-day rainfall, which flooded neighborhoods across the county,” Cooper said in another tweet.

Flood warnings remain in place for the Cumberland river at Nashville and other waterways in central and west Tennessee, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.

“Those will be in place for a while until waters recede in the creeks and rivers which can take a day to days (weeks), which depends on upstream, downstream, topography,” he said.

National Weather Service (NWS) Nashville reported that “most area rivers and creeks have crested while a handful are about to crest.”

The agency said on Twitter that receding water is expected over the next few days.

‘They lost everything’

As waters begin to recede, people in the area are working to recover, with many organizations stepping up to offer help to those displaced.

While residents from the compromised apartment building in Antioch escaped with their lives, some lost everything, evacuee Mark Piland told WZTV.

“My heart goes out to everybody,” Piland said, according to WZTV. “They lost everything pretty much on the first floor of these buildings.”

“I just hope everybody can stay safe, and I’m glad nobody was killed,” he added.

The situation was tense for those trying to escape the flash flood, residents told WZTV.

“All I heard was screaming,” Bolduc told the affiliate. “There was one lady who was completely inconsolable.”

“I see a board floating down, and I’m like, ‘Crap.’ I woke up my husband and said, ‘You have to be awake. You have to know what’s happening,'” she added. “I didn’t think anybody was going to believe how bad it was.”

A car that was carried by floodwaters leans against a tree in a creek Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Nashville.

The New Tribe church at the Valley Center strip mall in Mt. Juliet took on 3 or 4 feet of water during the flooding Sunday, according to WZTV.

With just a week until Easter, Pastor Jarod Smith told the affiliate that his church is now without a place to worship.

“A wall of water 3 1/2 feet tall just busted through the wall and just washed everything through the hallway, busted out the front glass, a complete loss,” Smith told WZTV.

The pastor said that while he is sad about the damage, he knows that the spirit of the church is with the people.

“We’re hopeful, the church is not a building,” Smith told the affiliate. “The church is people, but It’s devastating at the same time. As sad as it is and as much hard work we know is around the corner, we’re encouraged by the ones willing to participate and help.”

Four people killed, authorities say

The rushing waters claimed the lives of four people in Nashville, Cooper said Sunday.

“We send our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the four Nashvillians who died in last night’s flooding,” the Mayor tweeted.

The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) identified two drowning victims Sunday following severe weather and flooding in the area.

MNPD Urban Search and rescue officers recovered Garry Cole, 70, of South Nashville, deceased from a vehicle that was submerged in a creek Sunday morning, a tweet from MNPD said Sunday night.

Authorities also identified Douglas Hammond, 65, who died after being swept away by flood waters when he got out of his car that was stuck.

Two other victims, a 64-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman, who were found deceased in a homeless camp, have not yet been named by authorities.

CNN’s Andy Rose, Haley Brink, Artemis Moshtaghian, Tyler Mauldin, Keith Allen and Alta Spells contributed to this report.

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