Just In Case You Missed It

A natural disaster, in the form of a 500 year flood, occurred last weekend in Nashville/Davidson County and the surrounding counties of  Benton, Carroll, Cheatham, Crockett, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Madison, Maury, McNairy, Montgomery, Obion, Perry, Rutherford, Shelby, Sumner, Tipton and Williamson Tennessee. Perhaps the costliest non-hurricane disaster in the US, national news coverage has given little attention to this event. At this time, it is known that 29 people have died, and thousands of homes and businesses are underwater.  Nashville’s tourism industry has been severely crippled as Grand Ole Opry Hotel is 10 feet underwater along with nearby Opry Mills Mall. The touristy honky-tonks and restaurants on Broadway, the Schermerhorm Symphony Center, the Tennessee Titans’ field, and  the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are all flood damaged.  This article sums the spirit of cooperation and charity demonstrated by the Tennessee citizens.  Tennessee is nicknamed the “Volunteer State”, and it truly is, in word and in deed.

Creeks and rivers quickly rose, to overflow into nearby homes and businesses.

After a dry April, we all looked forward to the weekend rainstorm. No one expected the storm to stall out over Middle Tennessee, and it’s citizens had no advance warning. On Saturday, we awoke to dark clouds, which released heavy torrents of rain.  Waterways swiftly rose and poured over their banks. In areas where there was not a waterway, the soil became  saturated with water; resulting in runoff settling in low lying areas forming new rivers. Rain continued overnight  with the threat of tornadoes and into Sunday. All Church services were  cancelled. Citizens were ordered to stay at home unless evacuated.

Given little or no advanced notice, citizens hurriedly grabbed what they could and evacuated.

Given little or no advanced notice, citizens hurriedly grabbed what they could and evacuated.

Neighbors helped each other to safety

Neighbors helped the elderly to safety.

Neighbors helped the sick and the handicapped.

Churches and Synagogues quickly opened Red Cross emergency shelters.

Animals were also rescued and taken to shelters.

Rivers formed on Interstates and other vital roadways. Portions of I-65, I-40, I-24, and I-440 were closed.

Volunteers used boats to help rescue those trapped in their homes or in cars.

Nearby in Williamson county, our family was able to safely witness from our home the power of Mother Nature as the Harpeth River filled the lower end of our yard. In this photo we guesstimate the Harpeth is 20 feet high at the deepest part.

Flood waters from the Cumberland overflowed into downtown Nashville.

The Cumberland River flooded The Grand Ole Opry Hotel.

500 Opryland Hotel guests were evacuated to shelters.

Citizens of Nashville and the surrounding counties obeyed orders to stay ( if safe) at home.

Very little looting has occured.

Finally Monday morning dawned with clear skies and better spirits...

... as the hard long job of recovery begins.

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009 http://theredbrickstore.com/sunstone/becoming-hong-meis-mother/.

12 thoughts on “Just In Case You Missed It

  1. I’ve been thinking about you, Joanna. I’m glad you’re alright enough to post this. May the community come out stronger through this challenge.

  2. Joanna, I suffered through six or seven hurricanes when I lived in Miami. During one of those, the waters rose up to the front door of my house, and people were paddling canoes up and down my street. There is obviously a lot of suffering during this events, and a lot of opportunities for helping the less fortunate. One thing that I always noticed is that such events bring the neighbors together in a common cause. So even among the pain there are pleasant experiences.

  3. A quick google news search reveals that there have, in fact, been at least two dozen cases of looting.

  4. “Little attention”? It’s been on the national news every night.

    It’s that sort of civic spirit (among other things) that makes me miss the place where I lived for birthdays 2-9. (Didn’t one of the TV stations have a jingle that started “There’s a feeling in the air, you can’t get anywhere but Nashville”? Almost 28 years after living there, and almost eleven years after having last visited, I recognize that.)

  5. Thank you Julie. I changed the caption. Nashville pUblic radio reports, “Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas says some looting has followed the weekend’s flood, but in all he’s pleased with what he considers a low number of cases for a city of this size.” What matters is Tennesseans, as a whole, have not run amuck.

  6. John- I have never heard that TV jingle. We have only been here the last 17 years. I did not realize you lived in Nashville!:) Where did you live? I think one of the things that makes Nashville special is the high religious nature of it’s citizens. It is strong Judeo Christians values that causes people to act charitably towards others. Nashville is also nicknamed “the buckle of the bible belt”. This description fits nicely. it took a couple of days for the world to notice.

    Ben- We had miniscule damage done to our property. We feel very fortunate and are grateful we live at the top of a steep hill.

    Geoff- You are so right. It is times like now, that reveals the character of the individuals involved.

  7. Oakland Avenue (just off Belmont Boulevard, near John Sevier Park) (1975-76); Reeves Road in Antioch (1976-80); Draughon Avenue, near Granny White Pike and Woodmont Boulevard (1980-82). We were in the original Nashville 3rd Ward until it was folded into 1st in 1979, and were in 1st after that. I went to Una Elementary School (since replaced) and Burton Elementary (since sold to David Lipscomb University for their K-12 program.)

  8. Are you guys ok Joanna? I’ve been out of town, and thus is a a news black out, and am catching up on everything still. Hope you guys are safe!!

  9. John-Yeah I know that area. Did you know the Scott family?

    Joyce- We are fine. Our house, and part of the yard, sits way up on a hill. The yard at the bottom backs up to a creek which flows into the Harpeth River a few yards away from our property. We did not loose any trees, only the swing set. No biggie there. I was more worried about the tornado warnings. Because of where we live, we had a good view of how rapidly the water rose and how fast it moved. You can’t tell from the picture, but the water was moving fast and it roared like a train going by.

  10. Yes I did – their sons are about a year and a half younger than I am. When I passed through in 1999, I made sure to go to what was then West Nashville Ward, where he was bishop. (And that I’d lived in that part of town didn’t hurt.)

  11. John-Brad and his family live in our ward. He is a neat guy and has been so wonderful to work with both my older sons in YM. The Scotts are a wonderful family. Have you see the new building in Green Hills? I heard there was some flooding there, but I do not know if the church was flooded. Small world, right? 🙂

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