Rescuers hope for no more victims in floods
At least 29 people were killed across South by either water or tornadoes
updated 5:45 a.m. MT, Wed., May 5, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The dark waters of the Cumberland River slowly started to ebb Tuesday as residents who frantically fled the deadly flash floods returned home to find mud-caked floors and soggy furniture. Rescuers prayed they would not find more bodies as the floodwaters receded.
The river and its tributaries had flooded parts of middle Tennessee after a record-breaking weekend storm dumped more than a foot of rain in two days, rapidly spilling water into homes, roads and some of Music City's best-known attractions.
At least 29 people were killed in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky by either floodwaters or tornadoes. Water submerged parts the Grand Ole Opry House, considered by many to be the heart of country music, and the nearby Opryland Hotel could be closed for up to six months.
The flash flooding caught many here by surprise, and efforts to warn residents to not drive on flooded streets were hampered by power outages. As the water began to recede, bodies were recovered late Monday from homes, a yard and a wooded area outside a Nashville supermarket.
By Tuesday, the flash floods were blamed in the deaths of 18 people in Tennessee alone, including 10 in Nashville.
The Nashville Scene reported that the city's coordinator for homeless issues said those who had been living in a tent city downtown appear to be accounted for after it was wiped out. Earlier, police told NBC News that they feared they might end up finding bodies there.
Hundreds of people had been rescued by boat and canoe from their flooded homes over the past few days. Those rescue operations were winding down in Nashville on Tuesday, though emergency management officials were checking a report of a house floating in a northern neighborhood, trying to determine if anyone was in it.
It remained unclear how many — if any — people were missing in Tennessee. Authorities in southcentral Kentucky searched Tuesday for a kayaker who was last seen Monday afternoon in the swollen Green River.