Flooding in Tennessee: Flood water “tidal wave” overtook residents in minutes and killed 21 people, including 7-month-old twins Tennessee flood waters overtook residents in minutes and killed 21 people, including 7 month old twins

“All of a sudden it was like a tidal wave that just passed on the road and in my backyard,” she told CNN.

Hipshire rushed to pack a bag and save herself, her 8-year-old son and her husband.

“And my house fell off the foundation while we were still there, so we had to smash the kitchen window and crawl out of it and get on the roof as fast as we could.”

The Hipshire family survived Saturday’s flash floods in Middle Tennessee, which left at least 21 dead and 40 missing, authorities said on Monday.

Twenty of the deaths are from Waverly, a town of about 4,100 residents, and one was from Humphreys County, the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency said.

Among those killed were 7-month-old twins, agency spokesman Gray Collier told CNN on Monday. The twins were swept from their father’s arms in Saturday’s flooding, a family member said.

“The mother grabbed a tree and the father had the 2 twins of 5 years and 19 months and unfortunately the 2 babies left his arms!” Charity Hooks stated on a GoFundMe page. CNN verified the page with the company.

In the post, Hooks says she is cousin to the mother of the twins. CNN contacted Hooks and had no response. CNN has not independently verified the details of the infant deaths.

“We need patience and prayers,” said Humphreys County Sheriff

Rain flooded the area west of Nashville, sweeping people, homes and vehicles as residents attempted to escape. Flooding damaged infrastructure, schools, homes and other facilities in Waverly, Waverly Police and Fire Chief Grant Gillespie said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

Some 2,000 homes in Humphreys County were without power around noon Monday, the emergency management agency said. About 10,000 customers in Middle Tennessee lost power to the weather, CNN affiliate WSMV reported.

The number of people unaccounted for continues to fluctuate as names are added to the list while others are reported unharmed, Collier said, adding that the recent restoration of cellphone coverage has led to an increase in cell phone coverage. reports of missing persons. The agency reported 40 people missing on Monday morning, compared to 25 missing on Sunday evening.

“We need patience and prayers,” Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said, adding people should stay out of the area while they continue their operations. Local officials are trying to come up with a long-term plan, he said, but “we are overwhelmed.”

The body of Davis’ best friend had been found, the sheriff revealed at a press conference.

“He drowned in that, and sitting here thinking about that, yeah, it’s tough but we’re going to move on,” Davis said.

Rescue and recovery efforts “will continue until we find all of the missing Tennessians,” said state emergency management agency director Patrick Sheehan.

“It’s pretty devastating on the ground,” Sheehan explained, adding, “We’re going to see mostly recovery efforts at this point rather than rescue efforts.”

Also among the dead was a foreman who worked on Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Humphreys County, a Facebook statement from the country music legend said on Sunday. Wayne Spears was the longtime foreman of his property, the statement said.

“There are no words on the ranch today… only tears. Our ranch family is our family,” Lynn said in her Facebook post. “He’s taken care of things here at the ranch so well for us. He’s one of us and the whole Lynn family is heartbroken. Please pray for his precious family and friends.”

The Tennessee Department of Health has so far confirmed 16 deaths, Sheehan said, noting that the deviation from the toll reported by local authorities is due to the Department of Health’s strict process to validate the deaths.

Precipitation May Have Set Tennessee Record

Saturday’s precipitation total reached 17.26 inches north of Centerville, Hickman County; 17.02 inches in McEwen, Humphreys County; and 13.76 inches near Dickson, Dickson County, the Nashville National Weather Service said.

The precipitation total at McEwen could become a state record when formalized, said Krissy Hurley, warning coordination meteorologist for the Nashville Office of the Meteorological Service. Centerville is not a verifiable weather station in terms of official records, the office told CNN.

“We were getting rainfall rates of 3 inches per hour for three straight hours,” Hurley said. “It’s an incredible type of astronomical statistic to see after the fact.”

Saturday’s flooding was caused by multiple storms forming in the same area.

“We had a fixed border on the western part of Middle Tennessee which provided the perfect installation conditions, constant training of (storms) over this area for several hours along this border,” said meteorologist Mark Rose of the Nashville weather service bureau told CNN.

“The rainfall forecast for the next seven days shows next to nothing” for the area that was flooded over the weekend, Rose said. “It will be a relatively dry week ahead.”

Humprheys County schools close for the week

The flooding happened so quickly that the Humphreys County school principal got stranded on the roof of Waverly Junior High, he said, WSVM reported.

“We had helicopters going by, boats going by, and we said you were all going to see someone else. Everything was fine. We were safe,” said Richard Rye. “But to see old people and children, like I said, I’m numb.”

Rye canceled classes for the week, saying several buildings are in ruins and half of the school buses are not operational. McEwen High School has become a reunification center for people displaced by the floods.

“Right now I’m not worried about the schools,” Rye told WSVM. “We are going to rebuild, we are going to clean them up. We will do what we have to do to get our children back to school, but right now we are worried about our children.”

Drill up to the roof

Waverly’s Amanda Toungette Maples described a heartbreaking floodwater escape.

How climate change amplifies extreme weather events like deadly Tennessee floods and record New York rainfall

When the lowest room in her house started to fill with water, Maples walked over to the garage to bring her dog. The water rose so quickly that at times she had to swim home with the dog in tow.

Going into survivor mode, she grabbed the most important electronic devices and brought the animals into the highest room of her house. The water kept rising, so much so that the bed it was on started to float, she told CNN.

She called a police friend who urged her to enter the attic and pierce the roof, she said.

After going through an air vent, Maples sat on the roof and watched the water rise around her house – and her mother’s house across the road. She was terrified because her mother did not have access to the attic after a home renovation sealed it off, Maples said.

Rescuers arrived by jet ski. Maples first asked them to save his mother, who – Maples later learned – had survived by standing on her kitchen island.

Governor mourns “huge loss of life”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee reviewed the flood damage in Humphreys County on Sunday and called it “a very tragic and difficult situation.” He cited a different precipitation total.

The large amount of rain that fell – a record 14 inches, according to the governor – created “devastating flooding in the community” and “huge loss of life,” Lee said.

Lee spoke to flood survivors and was shocked to learn how quickly their situation had become dire, he said.

Josh Whitlock and Stacy Mathieson examine what's left of their home after it burned down from flooding in Waverly, Tennessee.

“They would see water in their backyard, and then within minutes it would enter their house,” Lee said, adding that residents had gone from “seeing the floodwaters rising to not being able to escape from their homes. houses”.

Lee described the consequences as tragic: “Houses have been washed away by their foundations, cars strewn across the community. It is a devastating picture of loss and grief, ”he said.

First responders, including the National Guard, will remain at the scene while search and rescue operations continue, the governor said.

“What we know is that it is incredibly difficult, and our hearts and our prayers must be for these communities, for these people in this community, many of them who have not only suffered the loss of their homes. and their property, but the loss of family and friends, ”Lee said.

Sheriff describes the pain of not being able to help everyone

As emergency responders attempted to enter the flooded area on Saturday night, their efforts were complicated by broken phone lines and flooded roads, said Davis, the Humphreys County Sheriff.

He compared it to a mother’s feeling that she couldn’t reach her child.

Kalyn Clayton, 16, inspects the damaged kitchen of a home while volunteering with her church youth group in Waverly, Tennessee.

“Knowing that you have people who have stayed who can’t get help… I have people floating in the cove that no one can reach, and no one can help. It hurts. It hurts,” he said, fighting back tears.

Waverly Mayor Buddy Frazier said the loss of life was unlike anything the town has ever experienced.

“I’ve been here for a long time and been through a lot of events here and this one really brought me back,” Frazier said. “It’s bad, it’s bad: the number of people that affected the number of lives lost.”

CNN’s Paul Murphy, Keith Allen, Alta Spells, Haley Brink, Gregory Lemos and Kay Jones contributed to this report.

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