Nashville Flood, After the Rainfall
Beginning Saturday May 1, a steady rain began to fall on Nashville and all through middle Tennessee. This is the Spring rainy season and a heavy rainfall is normal for this area.
Within hours however, it became clear that this was not the typical Spring showers. Rivers, creeks, any tributary carrying water began to swell. Within hours electric power failed in many areas throughout the city. At the same time land line telephone service also failed broadly.
What happened next is what differentiates this Spring storm from any before. It rained over 6 inches on Saturday setting a lifetime record for this area. Then on Sunday it rained another 6 inches, amounts vary from reports in different areas. For most of Nashville, roads were blocked, power was interrupted, water supply and quality was challenged.
If not for the cell phone area we live in, there would have been a widespread block of communication. Even so, most Nashvillians were simply shocked when they did get their first view out into the world again.
Nashville has not seen this kind of widespread destruction. Homes and business close to water were seriously damaged, some simply carried away. Many however who were not in harm's way felt many of the same effects: widespread power outages, phone service failure. Today nearly a week after the storm and flood large areas still do not have landline phone service, some still do not have power.
Each neighborhood has it's own story. Remote areas see single homes swept by the river but businesses such as Opry Mills, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, were flushed by flood waters and had to evacuate everyone. We were blocked on our road for several days.
What was different this time was seeing the rest of the city when power was returned Tuesday. We are told this is the highest flood recorded since 1939. Everywhere you go, roads are blocked off, buildings are damaged, debris appears in the middle of a field as if tossed by a tornado wind. Occidentally you see homes completely missing with only a foundation visible.
Many major roads are still blocked. You can see asphalt buckling as the undertow of the flooding river simply lifted the road into it's current. West Nashville and Cheatham County shared the combined burdens of the Cumberland River and Harpeth River. The Harpeth snakes through countless acres of Williamson, Cheatham, and parts of West Davidson County. It is not unusual for the same road to cross the Harpeth.
One week later some homes are just now being evacuated. There are countless citizens who have lost their cars, can not return to their homes, and you hear questions of flood insurance and what FEMA can do to help in many conversations.
It will be several months before life returns to normal for Middle Tennessee and for some life will never be the same.