22 Dead, Many Missing In Tragic Tennessee Floods Caused By Record Rainfall

Dozens of people are still missing after record-breaking rain sent floodwaters surging through Middle Tennessee. At least 22 people were killed, and rescue crews searched desperately Sunday for survivors amid shattered homes and tangled debris. The dead included twin babies who were swept from their father’s arms, according to surviving family members, as well as a foreman at county music star Loretta Lynn’s ranch. The sheriff of the county of about 18,000 people some 60 miles west of Nashville said he lost one of his best friends.

Saturday’s flooding in rural areas took out roads, cellphone towers, and telephone lines, leaving families uncertain about whether their loved ones survived the unprecedented deluge. Emergency workers were searching door to door for anyone trapped in their homes by the rising waters. Up to 17 inches of rain fell in Humphreys County in less than 24 hours Saturday, shattering the Tennessee record for one-day rainfall by more than 3 inches, the National Weather Service said

The hardest-hit areas saw double the rain that area of Middle Tennessee had in the previous worst-case scenario for flooding, meteorologists said. Lines of storms moved over the area for hours, wringing out a record amount of moisture — a scenario scientists have warned may be more common because of global warming.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee toured the area, calling it a “devastating picture of loss and heartache.” He stopped on Main Street in Waverly where some homes were washed off their foundations and people were sifting through their water-logged possessions. All around the county were debris from wrecked cars, demolished businesses and homes, and a chaotic, tangled mix of the things inside.

Many of the missing live in the neighborhoods where the water rose the fastest, said Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis, who confirmed the 22 fatalities in his county. The names of the missing were on a board in the county’s emergency center and listed on a city department’s Facebook page.

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