In case you haven’t heard, which is very possible given the lack of national news coverage, Middle Tennessee was hit hard by storms this weekend and much of the Nashville area is severely flooded.
I’ll start my account with an email I sent out to family late last night/early this morning:
I thought I’d take a moment to let everyone know that Craig and I are okay up here in Nashville! This has been one of the craziest weekends and experiences. Never in my life did I think I’d live through something like this flooding.
There has been storm predictions leading up to Saturday, but our biggest concern was the chance of tornadoes. In fact, Saturday, Craig and I were under a warning several times. At one point, they listed off streets in which rotation was being seen by Doppler radar… and all those streets were just blocks away. We had pillows and blankets in our guest bathroom tub, ready to take cover any second. To say I was beside myself scared would be an understatement.
As we watched on TV, the interstate that we take into town every day turned into a lake. A portable classroom literally floated down the interstate, and LaVergne (where we live) was declared a disaster area. We couldn’t have gotten out if we had to… all exits out of town were flooded. Luckily, we had food, electricity, and a sense of humor. Our foundation did get over saturated/flooded and our garage had about a quarter inch of water in it… but opening the garage door released that and we were fine.
The storms subsided, but we had more coming our way Sunday morning. Craig and I decided to sleep in shifts on the couch so we could watch the weather coverage. Predictions had originally been that rain would arrive around 10 am. However, before 6 am we were watching tornado warnings make their way our direction again.
Sunday was just bizarre, though. The storms just seemed to camp out over Nashville, and at our house we didn’t see a drop of rain until noon! From then until around 5 pm we just had a gentle steady rain. Nashville, though, quickly started to flood as the Cumberland River began to swell. Then, around 7 pm, the next round of storms came… and they passed JUST South of us!! And the area South of us flooded a bit. So Sunday night, we couldn’t go North OR South! In fact, they had the Interstate closed right at our Exit.
Sunday became almost a vigil, watching the waters rise. They continued to rise through today. Belle Meade has neighborhoods where the houses are up to their roofs with water. People taking boats and jet skis to help others. 185 cars got stranded on I-40 over night last night when the road flooded both directions. Opry Mills Mall was flooded. The Grand Ole Opry house got flooded — water up over the stage. I can hardly believe Craig and I were just there last weekend, when he played it with Joe. My heart seriously just breaks at the images of the Opry under water. Opryland Hotel has over 10 ft of water inside, and the 1500 guests there had to evacuate to a high school. Downtown flooded up to 2nd avenue. Wildhorse Saloon was affected. LP Field, home of the Titans, looked like a big soup bowl. Bridgestone Arena, where the Predators play and big concerts are held, flooded. Our Symphony Center lost a $2.5 M Organ and two Steinway pianos in flooding. And right now downtown is dark, as a transformer has blown…
Craig and I drove downtown today to get an idea of the damage. Or course, we will only really know the level of damage once the water recedes, but we could get some idea of what we were looking at… I posted a few photos that I took to my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/denisemattox/tags/flood/show/
Ultimately, we are okay here at our house. The worst went to our North and our South, and we were truly blessed to miss the flooding and tornados.
We have friends who were not so lucky, losing homes and vehicles and places of business. National coverage of this flooding has been absolutely pathetic. Had it not been for Weather Channel, we’d have had no coverage at all until yesterday. But, its been amazing to see the people band together. Some opened their homes to complete strangers. And you have to be fast to sign up to volunteer, because there are so many wanting to help out.
I am amazed by this city that I love… and love even more now. Now I know why this is the Volunteer State. There have been NO looters, only volunteers.
We Are Nashville — Wonderful blog post. A must read.
I have a degree in journalism. I am proud to have that degree! However, I am literally ashamed of my industry and their lack of coverage of our plight.
I will never discount that the oil spill in the Gulf affects millions and needs to be covered. The bomber in NYC goes with our constant battle against terrorism. BOTH important stories to cover, and as a friend said on Twitter, they are “sexier” topics. However, giving our flood the same amount of coverage as a cow loose in Indiana (no really! I watched a national news program last night and this happened) is a horrible slap in the face to our city.
Lives lost. MILLIONS of dollars in damage just with the Symphony Center alone. The history and heritage of the Grand Ole Opry is a part of our nations history. Many of our musician friends — musicians who bring music to fans around the country — have lost gear. Acts have lost sets. Flights were canceled in and out of Nashville a couple days ago. All of our interstates — that carry goods to all over the country and on which thousands travel daily — were shut down. Some sections of Interstate are STILL closed. Davidson County residents (which includes many hotels!) are being urged to cut water usage in half.
It is not like what is happening here doesn’t affect people nationally. People traveling to or through middle Tennessee need to know about this. (Not to mention the damage in Mississippi, Arkansas, etc.!) Like I said, the lack of coverage makes no sense to me… Journalism degree and all.
Perhaps, though, its because we HAVE banded together so well, not crying out for handouts, that we are not newsworthy enough. You don’t need ANY kind of degree, though, to understand the emotions felt behind all of this. Fear followed by grief followed by pride and love and thanks. And perhaps it is THAT fact that no news program could begin to cover.