Skip to comments.6 killed in heavy flooding, storms across Tennessee
Posted on 05/02/2010 12:42:18 PM PDT by Tennessee Nana
MEMPHIS Six people were killed in Tennessee and three in northern Mississippi by a line of storms that brought heavy flooding and tornados to the region over the weekend. More rain and storms loomed Sunday as emergency officials in Tennessee sought help from the state's Army National Guard, and urged people to stay off roads and interstate highways turned into raging rivers.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency revised the death toll downward about an hour after announcing that eight people had been killed. On Sunday morning, the agency asked for the state's National Guard to help with rescue operations and Gov. Phil Bredesen was getting hourly updates on the storm.
TEMA spokesman Jeremy Heidt confirmed that one person died around 4 a.m. Sunday in a tornado near Pocahontas, about 70 miles east of Memphis. The other deaths in Tennessee were all due to flooding, TEMA said.
Meanwhile, National Guard and Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopters with hoisting capabilities were on standby to rescue people from the floodwaters that covered city streets and left cars stranded on interstate highways turned into rivers.
Interstate-24 remained closed in Nashville, and segments of I-40 between Nashville and Memphis were blocked.
"The big message we're trying to get out is stay off the road," TEMA spokesman Mike Browning said. "It's really dangerous for a lot of people to be out there right now."
In northern Mississippi, Benton County Coroner John Riles said two people were killed in a mobile home that "looks like you stuck about four sticks of dynamite on it and it just disappeared."
Riles said a two-story house nearby also was obliterated. "If you didn't know the house was there, you'd think it was a vacant lot," he said.
In Lafayette County, Emergency Management coordinator David Shaw said one person was killed in Abbeville, where 15 or 20 houses were damaged by strong winds.
A spokeswoman at the National Weather Service said it was too early to say if tornadoes had caused the damage in Mississippi.
A line of strong thunderstorms Saturday dumped at least 10 inches of rain on Memphis and produced tornadoes and hail along the Mississippi River Valley in Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and northward.
The forecast called for more rain through the day Sunday, which could stymie rescuers trying to reach all of the far-flung areas that have been affected.
Some areas were hit by 13 inches of flash flooding on Saturday, and the same was expected on Sunday, Browning said.
"This thing is not going to be over this weekend by any means," he said.
The weekend deaths came on the heels of a tornado in Arkansas that killed a woman and injured about two dozen people Friday.
The southwestern part of Tennessee was extremely hard hit, with several Memphis-area streets declared impassable. Corey Chaskelson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said a levee had been breached along the Big Creek River in Millington, to the north of Memphis. He said 4 to 5 feet of water had flooded 200-300 homes at the Naval Support Activity base in Millington.
Emergency officials in Shelby County said hundreds of people were being evacuated due to high water, including residents of the Navy base and inmates at a federal prison.
Bob Nations, director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, said most of the roads into and out of Millington had been cut off by flooding.
At the Baker Community Center in Millington, where a Red Cross shelter was set up, retiree Joe Curry, 74, said he and his wife were rescued from their home in a boat Saturday morning after the water had risen to 7 feet.
"It rose so fast we couldn't get out," said Curry, who spent the day at the Red Cross shelter until family members could pick him up. "It's a mess."
Erick Hooper, 19, said there was water in his living room when he woke up Saturday morning.
"It kept rising, and it was too cold to swim, so I went on the roof," he said.
Hooper spent the day on the roof of the mobile home until rescuers picked him up in a boat. A pillow and a blanket were all he managed to take with him.
Jerry Fritts of the Red Cross said about 100 people were expected to spend the night at the Millington shelter.
Waters were washing away parts of roads and bridges in the Jackson area, said Marty Clements, director of the Jackson-Madison County Emergency Management Agency.
"We've basically become an island because the major highways and roads are cut off," he said Saturday evening.
Clements said there have been gas leaks and water main breaks due to the flooding and both area hospitals were running on generators temporarily during the day.
He said emergency officials have asked all events be canceled on Sunday, even church services, to keep people from trying to venture out in the floodwaters.
Charles Shannon, a spokesman for the Nashville Fire Department, said one person drowned in flood waters on Interstate 24 south of Nashville.
In Nashville, emergency responders had rescued 50 people from flooding, Mayor Karl Dean said. Police Chief Ronal Serpas said two police officers had to be rescued from a tree.
The National Weather Service said up to 12 inches of rain had fallen along areas of Interstate 40 since midnight and up to 6 more inches was expected through Sunday.
In Arkansas, Gov. Mike Beebe declared a state of emergency after visiting a community south of Little Rock hit hard by Friday's storms, and he was scheduled Sunday to visit heavily damaged areas north of the city.
Associated Press Writers Shelia Byrd in Jackson, Miss., Chris Talbott and Kristin Hall in Nashville and Andrew Demillo in Scotland, Ark., contributed to this story.
0bama doesn’t care.
I am so sorry for this tragedy.
God bless you
We have some very high pressure here right now...
Its suppose to reach here tonight...
Yeah, just ask the good people of Mississippi. Last weekend’s tornado cut a 149-mile path of death and destruction across the state, and the Annointed One can’t be bothered.
BTW, that tornado’s “path” was the second-longest in U.S. history according to Dr. Greg Forbes at the Weather Channel. It ranks only behind the Great Tri-State Tornado of 1925, which had a continuous path of more than 200 miles in length.
But don’t look for Barry to visit Yazoo City anytime soon. The message is clear; if you’re in a Red State (and affected by a natural disaster), the President won’t stop by unless it becomes politically necessary (see today’s visit to Louisiana).
We only had six inshes water coming in the back sliding doors and bailing out the front doors.
Where is that ???
My 16 yr. old daughter and her high school band were trying to get home today from Kings Island in Cincinnati OH and made it as far as Bowling Green KY where they will be making an emergency overnight stop. Hopefully they will make it home tomorrow. Only route I found to go East of Nashville was about 7 hours here to Hazel Green AL. Rather them be safe than sorry. Too dangerous and those tour buses must travel four lane highways or interstate with passengers.
I haven’t heard Zero make any comments about the tornadoes that hit Mississippi and Alabama last weekend and I heard last night that Arkansas had 11 tornado warnings going at the same time statewide.
I don’t expect him to make any comments about the flooding and deaths in Tennessee either.
Prayers for all those involved.
Kings Island the theme park ???
I’ve been there...
My dau used to live in Hamilton,... Butler county...
I hope they just stay put in Kentucky...
I.m going to stay up tonight as long as I have power and report whats happing around here...
Good luck, Nana—I hope it doesn’t reach your house!
I’m so sorry, Ingtar. Is the floodwater still there, or has it retreated? Are you at home, or posting from somewhere else?
Memphis/Bartlett. The drainage system here could not handle the rate the rain was falling. I get new carpet at least... LOL
We have a nice picture of the water 6 inches above the inside floor - which is four or five inches above the level of the patio outside.
Yes that is where they went. I’ve about decided the band trips are jinxed. First year to FL that had the raging wildfires and traffic and detours on way home, last year they got about an hour out of town heading to Orlando again and were called back due to Swine Flu outbreak in a panic by the administration (then kids were out of school and many, not mine, all headed to mall, so much for containment) and this year the flooding.
I hope tomorrows light brings sunshine and receding waters all across TN and those that were affected can start to recover.
Another band Mom has son stranded on this trip in KY and can’t get home and her poor husband is stranded in Memphis and works for Army Corp of Engineers and they had to be evacuated yesterday and abandoned his truck at the building so it is probably GONE, but at least he is safe but who knows when he’ll make it back home.
I’m in my dried out corner of the kitchen. Once they got the carpet ripped out, we managed to dry things out mostly. I still have a couple things to move and clean under/behind.
They fixed ours afew years ago...
But i dont know if our roads can handle this...
I’m near Chattanooga
We use to live in Millington, TN when my hubby was stationed at the Naval Base. Can’t remember the street we lived on though, just remember it wasn’t to far to go to see Elvis house. God bless to everyone.
What a mess!!!! God bless!!!
I took 3 elderly ladies to see Gracelands a couple of years ago...
They dont drive any more but they like to go every few years...
They are REAL fans
I got us into the Heartbreak Hotel...
Elvis movies play 24/7 on the TV...
They thought they had died and gone to Heaven...
It was fun though because they knew everything there was to know about him...
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