More than a dozen die as floods sweep Tennessee, Kentucky

CHICAGO (BestGrowthStock) – Severe storms and flash floods left more than a dozen people dead in Tennessee and Kentucky over the weekend as rising river waters closed portions of interstate highways leading in and out of Nashville.

The storms lifted levels of the Cumberland River that runs through Nashville as well as smaller tributaries and creeks.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean declared a state of emergency for the metropolitan area of Davidson County, where hundreds of people had been rescued from the rising waters, and 45,000 people remained without power on Sunday.

“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,” Dean said in a statement.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said seven people died in raging waters that spanned several counties, while one person was killed when a tornado touched down in Hardeman County.

In Nashville, four more deaths due to the floods were reported late Sunday. Two bodies were recovered from a flooded house and two were recovered from a vehicle found upside down in standing water, the mayor’s Office of Emergency Management said.

Two young men also were reported missing after the inner tubes they had tied together to form a raft broke apart in the city’s Mill Creek. A 19-year-old man who was with them managed to swim to shore.

In neighboring Kentucky, the state’s emergency management office said two people died in flooding as the storms shifted to the southeast.

The Tennessee agency asked the state’s Army National Guard for assistance in rescue operations. Several nursing homes were evacuated and hundreds of people took refuge in emergency shelters in several counties.

More than 150 roads were closed in the middle of the state alone, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.

More thunderstorms were expected in the region, and emergency officials were urging people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

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(Reporting by Susan Kelly, editing by Philip Barbara)

More than a dozen die as floods sweep Tennessee, Kentucky