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Governor Lee visited Waverly to assess flood damage

Heavy rain caused catastrophic flooding to hit Middle Tennessee on Saturday.
Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2021 at 11:47 PM EDT
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LIVE NOW: Gov. Lee in Waverly

Officials report at least 16 people are dead and dozens are missing after the flooding in Middle Tennessee.

Posted by WVLT on Sunday, August 22, 2021

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WVLT) - The National Weather Service reported catastrophic flooding in Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

CBS Affiliate, NewsChannel 5 reported almost one foot of rain fell in the span of six hours, overwhelming communities.

“This is a result of a record flood like that community has not seen before with regard to the amount of rainfall,” said Lee. “I talked to a family today about how fast this happened. Within minutes, they would see water in their yard and within minutes, it was coming in their home. Then they would move to a neighbor who had a second floor because literally within a five to ten minute period of time, they went from seeing floodwaters rise, to not being able to escape their homes. It was traumatic to hear the stories of how fast this happened in the community, which is part of the reason that so many people lost their lives and there are still so many missing.”

Dickson, Humphreys, and Hickson Counties were the heaviest impacted.

“Our hearts and our prayers need to be for those communities, for those folks in that community,” said Lee. “Many of them who have suffered not only the loss of their homes and their property but, the loss of family members and friends.”

At least 16 people are dead and dozens are missing, according to officials.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director, Patrick Sheehan, said that TEMA is reporting a different fatality rate than local governments because their validation process is different.

“I would expect given the number of fatalities we’ve seen so far, that we’re going to see mostly recovery efforts at this point, rather than rescue efforts,” said Sheehan.

TEMA staff is working with the Tennessee National Guard to establish a donation center at the Tennessee National Guard Armory and at Waverly High School.

Senators Bill Haggerty and Marsha Blackburn joined Gov. Lee in Waverly to assess the damage.

“We have seen so much devastation today,” said Blackburn. “We look forward to doing our part to work with the Governor and also with the local mayors to address the tremendous need that is going to be on the ground.”

Governor Lee said President Joe Biden has reached out and they are putting together a declaration to get emergency federal assistance after initial assessments get done in the following days.

“We toured an elementary school today, that school has been devastated,” said Haggerty. “I couldn’t believe the amount of damage that occurred. These kids are going to need supplies, they’re going to need care, they’re going to need your prayers.”

Sheehan said that this was the first deployment of the Tennessee National Guard and Nashville Helicopter Aquatic Team to help with recovery and rescue efforts but they had practiced for this situation just two weeks ago.

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