The Flood Everyone Forgot
Soggy Top, Tennessee.
6:15 PM, May 4, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
There's been a controversial immigration law passed, sometimes violent protests in its wake. There's an oil slick the size of a Northeastern state making its way into the marshlands and beaches of the Gulf Coast, potentially ruining miles of coastline and thousands of livelihoods for a long time to come. There was an unsuccessful bombing attempt in Times Square perpetrated by a man who may have trained at a bomb-making terrorist camp in Pakistan and is now in American custody.
There's also a disastrous flood in Middle Tennessee that has parts of the state under 10 feet of water and has killed 19 people thus far. (Edit: I should have noted the floods have killed 29 in a three-state area; 19 of them are in Tennessee.) It's just that nobody has noticed. Our national news bandwidth is somewhat occupied at the moment, so here's a primer on the floods.
Aerial photos show parts of downtown Nashville under water as the Cumberland River continued to rise throughout this morning. Mercifully, it looks to be finally receding, as much of the middle of the state tries to get power back on:
One of Nashville's water treatment plants flooded and had to be shut down, and the other came within a foot of being contaminated, but was able to stay up and running. The Grand Ole Opry is under 10 feet of water on its main floor, and is moving performances to other parts of the city for the time being. As Interstate 24 flooded, almost covering cars completely, an entire school building floated down the highway and broke apart in the waters.
Weekend thunderstorms dropped more than a foot of rain over two days, causing flash flooding and property damage throughout this region of the state. Rescuers prayed today that as waters receded, they would not find more bodies under the water, but there will probably be more, especially in remote areas:
The Tennessean has the best pictures of the damage. Those who have lost their homes and cars are in shelters, if they're lucky, on the phone with insurance agents, and trying to learn how to rebuild. Those who still have their homes are digging out their communities' parks and football fields from the mud, and helping neighbors.
The Middle Tennessee Red Cross is taking donations here and via text if you text "REDCROSS" to 90999 (that will automatically charge $10).
Godspeed to rescuers as the water recedes.
Leave it to Music City to inspire a haunting, sad music video about its devastating floods. Thanks to the Internet, even when America's national news bandwidth is exhausted, someone's always out there documenting the news. As of this afternoon, #Nashvilleflood is trending on Twitter.
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