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Tennessee in state of emergency as flood, storm threat continues in Nashville area

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 2/23/2019 Andy Humbles and Mariah Timms
a couple of people that are standing in the water © Provided by Gannett Co., Inc.

Storms were set to continue in Middle Tennessee on Saturday night after Nashville broke the February rainfall record earlier in the day. More than 12 inches of rain have fallen this month, the highest total since 1880.

Water rescues

Nashville Fire Department responded to at least 60 water rescue calls Saturday evening, but reported no major injuries or fatalities connected with them. 

Nashville's Office of Emergency Management reported flooding on Rosa Parks Boulevard around 6:45 p.m.

OEM reported the street was holding enough water that cars could not move through, but that the farmers market was not flooded. 

Flash flood watches and warnings remained in place across the region until midnight, but the NWS said changing conditions meant they were unlikely to be renewed.

Davidson, Cheatham, Robertson and Sumner were under a flash flood warning until 11:15 p.m.

Williamson, Rutherford, Dickson, Wilson and Trousdale counties are under a flash flood warning until 9:45 p.m.

Nashville road closures, power outages

Several roads are under water at various points throughout Nashville, according to reports from the OEM. 

For a full list of Saturday night road closures in Davidson, Sumner or Rutherford Counties, check here. For Williamson County, check here. 

Downtown, Neelys Bend Road between Jasperson and Candlewood Drives was reported closed just before 7 p.m.

Out west, Georgia Avenue is closed between Delray Drive and Conway Street. 

Other OEM road closures include:

  • Whites Creek Pike & Knight Dr
  • Old Hickory Blvd & I24E 
  • Vashti & Cowan St 
  • Apex St & Granada
  • Georgia Av & Delray Av
  • Gay St & 10th Circle N 

More than 4,000 residents were without power around 6:30 p.m., according to Nashville Electric Service reports, but the agency was able to restore power to the Green Hills area by 8:30 p.m.

State of Emergency in Place

Gov. Bill Lee issued a state of emergency on Saturday afternoon, urging citizens across the state to follow the instructions of emergency officials and stay on alert due to rising flood waters and the potential for more severe weather.

Multiple state and local agencies continue to monitor the storm situation. 

The governor said he planned to return from D.C. Saturday afternoon due to the weather. 

Flash flooding

By 1 p.m. Saturday, Nashville had reached 12.66 inches in February, with flash flooding reported throughout Middle Tennessee, according to NWS. The rainfall is also the seventh highest for any month in Nashville, NWS meteorologist Sam Herron said. 

“Everyone should pay close attention to weather forecasts today and have multiple ways to receive weather watches and warnings,” said Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Patrick Sheehan. “Those who may have experienced any storm or flooding damage already should contact their county emergency management agencies to report issues, contact their insurance agencies and keep track of any repairs they make.”

Nashville neighborhood opens shelter 

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at McGavock High School on McGavock Pike for those in need of assistance. Metro Nashville Police urged residents in the Pennington Bend/Opryland area to keep a close watch on neighborhood conditions.

Opry Mills plans to close early at 8 p.m. Saturday, due to the weather. 

Metro Council Member Jeff Syracuse (District 15) urged residents on the western side of Pennington Bend Road, Wooddale Lane or Miami Avenue to begin making plans to leave the area.

Water levels will likely rise through the day and night and could make roads in that area impassable for emergency services, Syracuse said in a Facebook post. 

The roads on the eastern side of Pennington Bend in River Glen, Abbington Park, Abbington Shores and River Trace were not expected to be as impacted, according to Syracuse. 

River Glen resident Stacey Pearce brought her two children to the shelter on Saturday evening. Flood waters had risen near her home and she expects water damage when she returns, she said. 

Pearce said there is confusion about whether or not residents should evacuate their homes. 

Nashville's Office of Emergency Management had not issued an official evacuation order as of 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Nashville's Office of Emergency Management warned flash flooding is possible in the Whites Creek Area.

After a break in the rain during the day Saturday, a line of strong storms is expected to move into the region that carry an enhanced risk of more flash flooding, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes, NWS meteorologist Brendan Schaper said.

The anticipated storms could also bring another 1-2 inches of rain with flash flooding already a concern throughout Middle Tennessee.

"With all the rain we've had, it won't take much to knock down trees today," Schaper said. 

Stronger storms are forecast to move through Middle Tennessee between 5 and 10 p.m., with multiple waves possible, Herron said.

River flooding

The Cumberland River is expected to rise slightly above flood stage Sunday morning in Nashville.

There could be flooding of property between the Interstate 24 and Interstate 65 bridges and threats to some nearby roads including Adams, Cowan and Davidson streets.

The Harpeth River in Bellevue was also expected to go above flood stage Saturday afternoon. The Harpeth is expected to crest around 22 feet, two feet above flood stage. Homes are not expected to be affected. Newsome Station Road from Merrymount to Riverwalk roads is closed because the Harpeth River is out of its banks.

Mill Creek, Whites Creek and Richland Creek are among the creeks that nearby residents should monitor.

The Duck River at Columbia and Centerville was reported to be in a major flood stage on Saturday afternoon, according NWS data. 

The Red River, with a path that includes Montgomery and Robertson counties, is expected to go into flood stage Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The Red River is expected to be back below flood stage Sunday evening, meteorologist Sam Herron said.

a train is parked on the side of a building: The Cumberland River was at 35.45 at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Flood stage is 40 feet. © Larry McCormack / The Tennessean The Cumberland River was at 35.45 at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Flood stage is 40 feet.

Rutherford County slammed

Rutherford County had numerous roads closed and considered impassable from flooding, and the Rutherford County Fire and Rescue was called to a water rescue when a car drove through a barricade at Sulpher Springs Road and West Buckeye Bottom, according to the department's social media page.

Water was also reported as coming into homes around the Steelson Way and Royal Glen Boulevard area in Murfreesboro, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office. 

Williamson County: Emergency Management Agency officials responded to a rock slide on the shoulder of Interstate 840. The rocks were cleared with no impact to the road, according to a news release.

Moore County: About 10 people, including a baby, were rescued from a home in the Turkey Creek Loop area near Tims Ford Lake, County Mayor Bonnie Lewis said.

All are safe and in a hotel, Lewis said.

There have been evacuations and other water rescues in Moore County, according to the mayor.

This story is being provided free to all readers as a public service by the Tennessean. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing.

George Walker IV contributed to this story.

Reach Andy Humbles at ahumbles@tennessean.com or 615-726-5939 and on Twitter @ AndyHumbles.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee in state of emergency as flood, storm threat continues in Nashville area

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