Flooding reported in parts of Tenn. that were hit in May; forecasters say more rain is on way

By Kristin M. Hall, AP
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tenn. flash flooding reported, more rain coming

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Heavy rainfall has soaked some of the same parts of Middle Tennessee that were inundated with severe flooding in May, and forecasters are warning that more rain is expected.

A train washed off its tracks and rescuers plucked people from flooded vehicles and rescued residents in an apartment complex about 80 miles northeast of Nashville as continued downpours were predicted to add to the flooding problems through Wednesday evening.

In Putnam County, a home floated off its foundation and a train carrying sand derailed when the tracks were washed away. No injuries were reported, emergency officials said.

Heavy rains closed the Wilson County Fair, 30 miles east of Nashville, for the first time in its 157-year history. It’s the largest fair in Tennessee.

Tropical moisture behind a stalled low pressure front is creating waves of moderate to heavy rainfall, but officials did not expect to see a repeat of massive flooding that hit Nashville and surrounding areas on May 1.

“It’s kind of similar, but moving through at a much quicker pace, which will keep the rainfall amounts well below what we saw in May,” said James LaRosa, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Nashville.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt said some areas have gotten up to 3-7 inches already and could get another 3-7 inches through Thursday. Macon and Putnam counties, northeast of Nashville, have received much of the rain, he said.

“At TEMA we’ve put the National Guard on standby,” Heidt said. “We’ve got 14 high-water vehicles, big trucks with big wheels, and 25 guardsmen on standby.”

Heidt said reports from the National Weather Service indicate “this should not be as bad the May event.” The floods killed 22 people in Tennessee and caused over $2 billion in damage in Nashville alone. Record two-day rains swelled the Cumberland River and caused it to crest at 51.86 feet on May 3.

The Tennessee Titans moved Wednesday night’s practice, previously planned for LP Field, back to the team’s headquarters where they can go indoors if the rain is intense in Nashville. LP Field, which sits along the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, was among many Nashville institutions flooded in May.


Associated Press writers Rose French and Travis Loller in Nashville contributed to this report.

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