UPDATED: Storms pummel city, cause major flooding

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 11:49am
Flooding on Second Avenue (by Jude Ferrara)
A car underwater on 6th Avenue North (by Jude Ferrara)
A police car was underwater in the parking lot at Bicentennial Park (by Jude Ferrara)
Brian Tailor replaces a manhole cover (by Jude Ferrara)
The Cumberland River was expected to crest two feet above flood level (by Jude Ferrara)
Getting ready for the flood (by Jude Ferrara)
A tree was uprooted on Dallas Avenue (by Jude Ferrara)

UPDATE 8:11 p.m.: At least five deaths have been confirmed in Nashville. (See story)

All Metro Nashville Public Schools will be closed on Monday. (See story)

Metro police are beginning an evacuation of MetroCenter from Dominican Drive to the Cumberland River after officials noticed weaknesses that could lead to a breach of a nearby levee. There are more than 500 residents and 150 businesses in the area.

Also, police are sending an evacuation team to First Avenue near Riverfront Park. With the Cumberland River expected to crest at nearly 50 above normal, police are concerned about residents' safety. 

Metro Transit Authority Officials announced this evening that all bus and train services will remain offline Monday. 

Finally, mayor's office officials say the McCrory Lane Bridge over the Harpeth River has "likely suffered structural damage." The bridge is barricaded between Interstate 40 and Highway 70 in Bellevue. 

UPDATE 4:16 p.m.: A mayor's office official tells CNN that at least one of the five dead as a result of the weekend's flooding was in Davidson County. 

As well, the Harpeth River is reportedly 26 feet above its normal level. The National Weather Service has issued at least eight river flood warnings for Davidson County in the past 24 hours. 

UPDATE 1:13 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Davidson and surrounding counties that is in effect until 5 p.m.

The Nashville Airport Authority has announced flight delays and cancellations. Click here for more information

Also, the Red Cross has opened another relief shelter at the Al Menah Shrine Center

UPDATE 11:43 a.m.: Mayor Karl Dean has declared a countywide state of emergency in Metro. The official declaration allows the city to obtain state assistance. 

“A large portion of Davidson County has been impacted by flood waters, and we expect it to get worse as the day continues,” Dean said. “All of our major creeks and the Cumberland River are near flood level, if not at flood level. The ground is entirely saturated, and the rain continues to fall. There’s nowhere for the water to go. Our emergency responders have been able to handle all requests for services so far. But we need to be prepared to bring in any additional resources that are necessary to keep our citizens safe as we ride out the rest of this weather event.”


The deluge that left the city flooded yesterday stretched into Sunday morning, continuing to pummel Nashville with rain and leaving more than 30 roads closed due to flash flooding. 

Officials with Metro's Office of Emergency Management are urging residents to stay at home until the flooding subsides. They also say if travel is necessary, stay off roadways that appear flooded and try to use main streets rather than secondary routes.

As well, the Metro Transit Authority announced Sunday morning it was suspending all bus service due to extensive flooding of streets.

The rainstorms that pushed into the area Saturday morning have dropped 6-10 inches on Middle Tennessee. Yesterday, sections of Interstate 24 were underwater. According to Craig Owensby, one of many Metro workers staffing OEM's Emergency Operations Center — which pulls together major city services like police, fire and EMS — water is coming up through the storm drains downtown. Several downtown streets are closed because of the flooding, and the National Weather Service is reporting flood warnings for the area all day, with forecasts ranging between 1 and 5 additional inches of rain.

There have also been two mudslides — Clay Lick Road and River Trace Drive — and a rockslide that closed Highway 70 at Hooten Howse Road.

The most severe flooding appears to be in Antioch and Bellevue.

"Mill Creek in Antioch has fallen really sharply," Owensby said. "The projection right now is for the Cumberland [River] to crest sometime after midnight. The Harpeth [River] is at the highest level in recent memory, possibly the highest ever recorded. It's over Highway 100 from Ensworth High School down to Temple Road."

Old Harding Road, Morton Mill Road, and Highway 70 are all closed near the Harpeth River. Highway 70 remains closed at the Interstate 40 interchange.

Metro Police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford told The City Paper there have been numerous weather-related calls to police. Mayor Karl Dean addressed that in a statement Sunday morning.

“Our emergency responders have conducted over 150 water rescues since the rain first started yesterday,” Dean said. “We expect to see additional flooding this morning as the rain continues. We urge all residents to take this situation very seriously and heed our warnings to stay off the roads.”

The Red Cross has established emergency relief shelters at Lipscomb University and the People's Church in Franklin. In total, the agency is operating 14 emergency shelters across the state. Spokesman Mitch Turner said Red Cross officials had a difficult time getting set up because of access issues; he expected to issue an update on those operations later in the morning.

As well, city officials are cautioning residents to stay away from floodwaters, as they may be a health risk.

The Franklin Police Department is evacuating residents of susceptible areas, Officer Eric Johnson said in a press statement this morning. The department has closed 19 major and interior roads in the city; the only roads that are open into downtown Franklin are New Highway 96 West, Mack Hatcher Boulevard and Columbia Avenue.

Janel Lacy, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said the city may have never seen a storm like this. She said the 1970s was the last time Mill Creek and the Cumberland River flooded like this. 

Complete List of Road Closures

Antioch Pike at Harding Road

Antioch Pike at McCall Street

Barnes Road

Beech Bend at Footpath

Blue Hole Road

Bluff Road

Brownlee / One Lane

Buena Vista Pike

Bull Run Road at Ashland City Highway

Clay Lick Road

Culbertson Road

Curry Road at Briley Parkway

Daycove at Morton Mill

Dodson Chapel Road

Donelson Pike at Harding Place

Drummond Drive at Wildview Drive

Edmonson Pike at Nolensville Road

Elm Hill Pike at Massman Drive

Ezell Road at Harding Place

First Avenue at Riverfront Park

Glengarry at Curry Road

Harrison at Rosa Parks Boulevard

Hicks Road

Highway 100 between Ensworth and Temple Road

Highway 70 at Hooten Hows Road

Highway 70S at I-40

I-24 between Hickory Hollow Parkway and Briley Parkway

I-24E at Shelby Avenue

Lebanon Pike at Central Pike

Lickton Pike at Old Hickory Boulevard

McCrory Lane / One Lane

McCrory Lane between Poplar Creek and I-40

Mill Creek Road

Mt. View Road at Hickory Hollow Pkwy

New Hope Overpass


Old Glenrose Avenue at East Thompson Lane

Old Harding at Morton Mill

Old Harding at Sawyer Brown and Poplar Creek

Old Hickory Boulevard between I-24 and Dickerson Road

Pettus Road

Philfree Court

River Road at Indian Creek

River Trace at Libble Road

River Trace Drive

Sawyer Brown Road at Todd Priest

South Harpeth Road at Harpeth River

Tent Circle North at Rosa Parks Boulevard

Tulip Grove Road


4 Comments on this post:

By: brookelovelace on 5/2/10 at 6:55

Thanks Stephen and Jude for keeping us up to date, pictures and information, on the flood response and issues.

By: Brad Harrington on 5/3/10 at 5:08

To All Of You In Nashville:

Just wanted to drop a note to tell you I've been following your flooding on the news...and, despite the fact that many of us have differences of opinion in the political arena, I'd never wish what you are going through on anybody.

Best wishes to you all, and I hope you all pull through OK...I wish there was something I could do for you besides send you irritating commentaries. Let me know if there IS something I can do!

Semper Fi,

By: gdiafante on 5/3/10 at 8:33

I'm still trying to figure out why Brad's first thought would be of partisanship. Pretty sad.

By: Brad Harrington on 5/4/10 at 6:21

@ gdiafante:

Because I have known quite a number of people over the years, mostly on the left of the political spectrum, who DO wish these kinds of things on people. Are you one of them?

Semper Fi,