Severe flooding in Middle Tennessee has led the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) to declare a Level 3 State of Emergency in the state. The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated in Nashville, as well, to support locals affected by the catastrophic flooding.
At least 21 people, including two toddlers, have died because of the severe flooding which began on Saturday (Aug. 21), Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis told The Tennessean. As of Saturday night, 31 people were still missing, Davis noted. And a curfew of 8 p.m. has been enacted for Humphreys County.
In a Flash Report, issued Sunday (Aug. 22) morning, TEMA reported that the catastrophic flash flooding that took place on Saturday — due to heavy rains and storms — severely impacted Dickson, Hickman, Houston, and Humphreys counties, and the city of Waverly.
Between 9 inches to 17 inches of rain fell across middle Tennessee within a six-hour time frame Saturday morning. Then, another round of severe weather impacted the same area Saturday night. More than 10,000 people in the area remain without power, TEMA said and search and rescue teams performed more than 20 rescues and evacuations yesterday.
“Clearing skies today will allow search and rescue operations in the impacted counties to continue as local and state officials also focus on meeting the needs of survivors and first responders,” the Flash Report reads.
Several groups including the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Human Needs, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, are actively lending aid.
The Tennessee National Guard said it sent a Blackhawk helicopter, along with tactical vehicles and Humvees, to Central Tennessee and plans to deploy nearly 50 soldiers to respond to the severe flooding. In a tweet, Major General Jeff Holmes said, “Our first priority is to assist with getting responders access to the area and conduct rescue operations.”
Several churches have turned into shelters to assist residents who have been affected by the flooding plus the Tennessee Health Department is sending crisis counseling teams to help survivors and first responders.