WAVERLY, TENNESSEE – AUGUST 22: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) walks past a home swept off its foundation in catastrophic floods August 22, 2021 in Waverly, Tennessee. At least 22 people were killed and 50 others remained missing today after flash floods swept through middle Tennessee, according to officials. (Photo by Alan Poizner-Pool/Getty Images)
Deadly flash floods swept through Middle Tennessee, killing at least 22 people in Humphreys County and leaving others still missing.
“We want to offer our condolences to the families that lost loved ones: the stories are horrific,” said Congressman Mark Green, R-CD7, who represents Humphreys County in a video message. “Ask our friends all across the country for prayer and ask my colleagues in Washington to help make this a disaster area designation as soon as possible. These people will need our help.”
Tennessee has become a frequent target for catastrophic flooding in the last few years. Most notably, in 2010 Tennessee experienced a flood that inundated downtown Nashville, in which the National Weather Service measured 13.57 inches of rain during a 36-hour period.
Saturday’s flood was worse, with 17 inches of rain falling in less than 24 hours. The National Weather Service in Nashville, said in a twitter post that the rainfall likely broke records for the state for that area.
In a span of a few hours, floods swept away buildings and people. Among the dead is celebrity singer Loretta Lynn’s ranch foreman, Wayne Spears. In a Facebook post, Lynn’s Ranch Campground, Tours, Concerts & Events describes Spears as a family friend that had worked at the ranch for decades.
“Eventually we’ll rebuild our community, our ranch, our lives and our homes. but only God could build a man like Wayne Spears. There’s just no replacing that. May he rest in peace,” it said.
Lee applied for federal emergency relief late Monday afternoon. Tennesseans affected by the flooding can access resources from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.disaster request
Lee encouraged Tennesseans to donate to local churches and nonprofit organizations, such as American Red Cross of Tennessee, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Community Resource Center and the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services.
“What those people in that community are going to need is ways to put their lives back together, and part of that is just people [saying] ‘hey, what can we give, what can we donate?’” said Lee.
In a Monday press conference, U.S. Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn joined Gov. Bill Lee in meeting with local officials to survey the damage. President Joe Biden, has joined Tennessee federal officials in weighing in on the catastrophe.
President Joe Biden
“I send my deepest condolences for the sudden and tragic loss of life due to flash flooding in Tennessee. We’ve reached out to the community and will offer any assistance they need in this terrible moment.”
Sen. Bill Hagerty
“What we saw today was devastation at a level that is absolutely heartbreaking. What we’ve seen is the Tennessee spirit at the same time. We’ve seen people that have lost family members, people that don’t know where family members are, but we’ve seen Tennesseans come to aid. I was so touched to see first responders all over Tennessee there on the ground, doing everything they can to help address this problem.
“The news media has been very focused on what’s happening in other areas: Haiti, Afghanistan, and hurricanes coming to the Northeast. I think that we need to understand that the devastation here in Tennessee has been every bit as significant.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn
“As I witnessed firsthand yesterday, the devastation in Humphreys County is extensive. But Tennesseans are resilient, and it’s great to see so many volunteers already coming together to help their neighbors in need.”
Gov. Bill Lee
“Our hearts are with the many Tennesseans experiencing loss & heartbreak following yesterday’s deadly floods. The loss of life and property damage is devastating, & many of our neighbors are still missing. Please keep these communities in your prayers.”
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