FEMA administrator tours Tennessee flooding disaster

Aug 25, 2021, 1:22 PM | Updated: 1:52 pm
Flood damage is photographed from a Tennessee National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flying Gov...

Flood damage is photographed from a Tennessee National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flying Gov. Bill Lee to Waverly, Tenn., on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. (Alan Poizner/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

(Alan Poizner/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

WAVERLY, Tenn. (AP) — The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency toured flood-devastated areas of Middle Tennessee on Wednesday to assess the damage from a weekend deluge that caught residents off guard in the morning hours, killing more than a dozen people and leaving hundreds homeless.

Saturday’s flooding took out houses, roads, cellphone towers and telephone lines, with rainfall that more than tripled forecasts and shattered the state record for one-day rainfall. More than 270 homes were destroyed and 160 took major damage, according to the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee jointly toured the area on Wednesday. The first stop was Waverly First Baptist Church, which is being used as a shelter, with a table of food lining one wall and small beds lining another.

Lee became choked up when talking to those temporarily living in the shelter, as well as those who have been assisting.

“Tragedy comes in a moment. But what we’ve seen here is the intersection of tragedy and hope,” said Lee.

Lee also said President Joe Biden called him Tuesday and offered his support, noting that the Biden administration quickly approved the state’s request for an emergency declaration, which frees up federal aid to help with recovery efforts in Humphreys County.

Criswell said she spoke with Biden right after Saturday’s flooding.

“The road to recovery is going to be long, but we are here to support the governor and his team and support you with what your needs are,” Criswell said, temporarily taking her mask down so everyone could hear. “And my heart goes out to all of you.”

The small city of Waverly, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Nashville, was the community hit hardest by the flood. A public housing project there along the banks of Trace Creek was in ruins.

The Waverly Housing Authority was working on Wednesday to try to find housing for the residents in nearby towns, executive director Sherry Lynch said.

In the chaotic aftermath of the flood, there was confusion about even the number of people killed. Humphreys County reported on Wednesday that 19 people had died in the flood with one person still missing, while the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency was reporting 17 people deceased. The number had previously climbed as high as 22, but some people were counted twice and others were counted who died from non-flood-related causes.

Clean-up efforts and the search for the missing continued on Wednesday, with searches using excavators and chainsaws to clear debris in the normally shallow creek. Meanwhile, residents picked through their mud-caked possessions and scavenged in bushes for belongings that were washed away. Strewn across the ground were the remnants of their lives — Christmas wreaths, T-shirts, VHS taps, baseball cards. Every vertical object left standing was plastered with debris, wrapped tightly around poles and trees in the direction of the current.

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the toll the disaster has taken on residents.

“You’ve seen us get a little emotional. You have to remember, these are people we know, people’s families, people we grew up with — just the people of our small town. It’s just very close to us.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)...
Associated Press

President Biden to end COVID-19 emergencies on May 11

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden informed Congress on Monday that he will end the twin national emergencies for addressing COVID-19 on May 11, as most of the world has returned closer to normalcy nearly three years after they were first declared. The move to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations would […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

‘Father of Peeps’ marshmallow candies Bob Born dies at 98

Ira “Bob” Born, a candy company executive known as the “Father of Peeps” for mechanizing the process to make marshmallow chicks, has died. He was 98. Just Born Quality Confections, the 100-year-old family-owned company Born led for much of his life, said Monday that he had died peacefully on Sunday. Born began his life in […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Russian millionaire on trial in hack, insider trade scheme

BOSTON (AP) — A wealthy Russian businessman and associates made tens of millions of dollars by cheating the stock market in an elaborate scheme that involved hacking into U.S. computer networks to steal insider information about companies such as Microsoft and Tesla, a prosecutor told jurors on Monday. Vladislav Klyushin, the owner a Moscow-based information […]
17 hours ago
FILE - The reflection of a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E is seen in the window as it charges at a Ford d...
Associated Press

Court upholds Minnesota ‘Clean Car Rule’ tied to California

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the state’s “Clean Car Rule,” which ties the state’s vehicle emission standards to California regulations, as judges accepted assurances that California’s planned phaseout of gasoline-powered cars won’t automatically apply in Minnesota. A three-judge panel rejected the arguments of Minnesota’s auto dealers, who […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

SoFi Technologies, CACI International rise; Ford, Hess fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Monday: SoFi Technologies Inc., up 74 cents to $6.68. The financial services company reported strong fourth-quarter financial results. Alliance Resource Partners L.P., up $1.83 to $22.54. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based coal miner’s fourth-quarter profit and revenue beat analysts’ forecasts. Colgate-Palmolive Co., up $1.29 […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Monday 1/30/2023

Stocks closed lower on Wall Street ahead of a week full of potentially market-moving events. The S&P 500 fell 1.3% Monday as markets prepare for decisions on interest rates around the world and a slew of earnings reports. Wall Street ended last week at its highest level since early December in part on hopes that […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
FEMA administrator tours Tennessee flooding disaster