At least 22 people have been killed after record-breaking rainfall caused extreme flooding throughout Middle Tennessee, AP reports.
The staggering death toll belongs entirely to Humphreys County, which saw up to 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours on Saturday, breaking the state’s single-day record by more than three inches. Meteorologists said the parts of Middle Tennessee impacted the most experienced double the amount of rainfall previously considered to be the worst-case scenario for flooding.
According to USA TODAY, National Weather Service meteorologist Krissy Hurley said the unprecedented downpour received on Saturday morning accounts for “about 20-25 percent of the yearly rainfall total that this area sees in a year.” A flash flood watch issued ahead of the storm anticipated somewhere between four to six inches of rainfall. “Forecasting almost a record is something we don’t do very often,” Hurley said. “Double the amount we’ve ever seen was almost unfathomable.”
Grant Gillespie, police and fire chief for the city of Waverly, believes federal aid would likely be needed to help the city recover from the damage done to its schools, homes, and infrastructure.
Among those who have died include two twin toddlers, as well as one of the best friends of Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis. Meanwhile, the Facebook page of the county sheriff’s office is filled with comments from people still in search of missing friends and loved ones, which is believed to be in the dozens.
“I would expect, given the number of fatalities, that we’re going to see mostly recovery efforts at this point rather than rescue efforts,” Tennessee Emergency Management Director Patrick Sheehan said. A curfew will remain in place for 8 p.m. Sunday.