Deadly Flash Flood in Nashville Kills Four Leaving Dozens of Homes and Businesses Destroyed

Written by Sarrah Pelorus

Last updated 3/29/2021, 8:46:54 PM

Some of the heaviest rainfall in Nashville's history caused flooding that killed at least four people over the weekend while first responders are continuing to searching for victims. Authorities identified two of the four victims found so far as men in their 60s and 70s who drowned after driving as floodwaters ravaged the area. One of them was swept away by flood waters when he got out of his car. More than a hundred people had to be rescued from high waters that flooded communities damaging homes and businesses.

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. 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. The flood is one of the latest tragedies to strike the city of Nashville, which in the last year has experienced a damaging tornado, a deadly derecho and a Christmas morning bombing.

Two days of driving rain caused rivers to overflow throughout Middle Tennessee and created the worst flooding in the state since May 2010. The 2010 storm killed 18 people in Middle Tennessee and at least 27 in all of Tennessee and Kentucky. Nashville International Airport recorded 7.01 inches of rain from late Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning, making this the second-largest, two-day rainfall total on record, behind May 1-2, 2010, when 13.57 inches of rain was recorded, according to the NWS. Over 5 inches of this rain fell between 10 p.m. (11 p.m. EST) Saturday and 5 a.m. (6 a.m. EST) on Sunday local time.

Many rivers in the region, including the Duck, Buffalo and Harpeth Rivers, have crested and are on their way back down. The Monday forecast in Nashville is clear with highs in the 60s.

Unfortunately, the rain isn’t over for the city as another bout of rain is expected Tuesday night through Wednesday. Widespread rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are forecast, with isolated totals up to 4 inches possible. Because the ground is saturated, additional rain could lead to additional flooding.

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."

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," Cooper, the mayor, tweeted. 

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