Rescuers have been desperately searching for dozens of people amidst broken houses and entangled debris, and their whereabouts remain unaccounted for after record rainfall swept through central Tennessee.
According to surviving family members, at least 10 people were killed, including twins who were taken from their fathers.
The authorities worry that the death toll may rise.
Floods in rural areas have destroyed roads, mobile phone towers and telephone lines, leaving families uncertain whether their loved ones will survive the unprecedented floods. Christie Brown, the health and safety supervisor coordinator for Humphreys County Schools, said emergency rescuers are searching house-to-house.
Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said Sunday that many missing people live in communities where water levels are rising the fastest.
The National Weather Service said that less than 24 hours on Saturday, the county’s rainfall reached 430 mm (17 inches), which appeared to have broken the Tennessee single-day rainfall record of more than 76 mm (3 inches).
Meteorologists say that the rainfall in the worst-hit areas is twice the amount of rainfall in central Tennessee under the worst flood conditions before. The storm line moved in the area for several hours, causing a record amount of water loss-scientists warn that this may be more common due to global warming.
The downpour quickly turned the creek flowing through downtown Waverley into a raging torrent from the back of the backyard. On Saturday, the business owner Kansas Klein was standing on a bridge in this town of 4,500 people. He saw two girls holding a puppy and sweeping it close to a wooden board. The water flow was too fast for anyone to catch. live.
He wasn’t sure what happened to them. Klein heard that the downstream rescued a girl and a puppy, and the other girl was also rescued, but he was not sure if it was them.
By Sunday, the floods had disappeared, leaving behind car wrecks, destroyed businesses and houses, and messy interiors.
“It came so fast and left so fast, it’s really amazing,” Klein said.
The Humphrey County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page is full of people looking for missing friends and family members. The GoFundMe page was asked to help pay for the funeral expenses of the deceased, including the 7-month-old twins who were dragged from their father’s arms while trying to escape.
Not far from the bridge, Klein told the Associated Press by phone that dozens of buildings in the Brookside low-income residential area seemed to bear the brunt.
“It was devastating: the building was torn down and half of it was destroyed,” Klein said. “People are pulling out the body of the drowning man, but without success.”
Davis told the news media on Saturday that his county is about 96 kilometers (60 miles) west of Nashville, and 10 people have been confirmed dead and more than 30 people are missing.
The deceased ranged from babies to the elderly, including one of his best friends, the county’s sheriff with 18,000 people told WSVM-TV on Sunday.
“Small town, small community. We know each other. We love each other,” Davis said.
According to data from the National Weather Service in Nashville, the town of McEwan, east of Waverley, suffered 432 mm (17 inches) of rain on Saturday, breaking the state’s 24-hour rainfall record of 345 since 1982. Mm (13.6 inches), but Saturday’s figures must be confirmed.
Before the rain began, the area issued a flash flood warning, and forecasters said there might be 100-150 mm (4-6 inches) of rain. Krissy Hurley, a Meteorological Service meteorologist in Nashville, said that the worst storm recorded in this area of central Tennessee only rained 230 mm (9 inches).
“Predicting almost record-breaking is something we don’t often do,” Hurley said. “The number we have seen has doubled, which is almost unfathomable.”
Recent scientific studies have determined that due to man-made climate change, extreme rainfall events will become more frequent. Hurley said it’s impossible to know its exact role in Saturday’s flooding, but she pointed out that in the past year, her office has dealt with floods that were expected to occur once every 100 years, which occurred south of Nashville. September and March near the city.
“There is a lot of water in our atmosphere,” Hurley said of Saturday’s flooding. “Thunderstorms develop again and again and move in the same area.”
The problem is not limited to Tennessee. A federal study found that man-made climate change doubled the likelihood of a 660 mm (26 in) torrential downpour around Baton Rouge, Louisiana in August 2016. These floods killed at least 13 people and damaged 150,000 houses.