Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Quick post about the Nashville flooding:
This is a small pond that formed in our common area during this past weekend's flooding. It's actually pretty and was especially so when two wild ducks took up residence.
However, we live on high ground, and were not affected by the flooding as so many of our friends were. We know many whose homes were damaged or even completely lost. Some of our friends had to be evacuated, including an older couple we know who had to be evacuated by boat over road which are normally dry. Different groups of our friends were out of town for the weekend and could not get back into Nashville for a bit.
At least some of the entrances into our area were flooded, but we just stayed put until the water in those areas receded.
It will be some time before the city can assess the total amount of the damage done here. So far, 29 lives have been lost across the storm-affected areas of Tennessee, and emergency workers suspect that the final tally will be larger.
People have been stranded in homes without food. Many have run out of medicines. This is horse and farm country, so many large animals had to be rescued and evacuated and, perhaps, some are lost. Smaller animals have been separated from owners and are pouring into the animal shelters. Whole sections of roads, parking lots, and other surfaces have been destroyed. Our famous Grand Old Opry, as well as the Opryland hotel and the Opry Mills shopping center were greatly damaged by flood.
Many people are still without lights and electricity. Our county's schools are closed, as are those in many other counties. Also, there are still some areas around here where people are in need of food and medical help, that as of yesterday, could not be reached by emergency workers.
Speaking of emergency workers, many police, fireman, utility personnel, medical personnel, and others have been working round the clock, going without sleep, in order to rescue people and try to minimize the potential harm to life and property. Often, new crews could not make it to the areas where they were needed, so the ones in place just had to keep on going without sleep. Many risked their lives to help others. A few ended up in situations where they were overcome by flooding, and, they, themselves, had to be rescued.
In perhaps the most famous news image of the flooding here, a school portable broke loose from its place and floated down a major Interstate. Portions of our major Interstates had to be closed. Since Nashville is a connection point for I-65, I-24, and I-40, this affects not only our local citizen, but an amazing amount of through traffic.
Well before the two day storm was over, they were announcing on the news that we had already received over one third of the amount of rain that we would normally receive over the course of a year. Since we live in an area with frequent rain, this is quite a lot of water.
We are having to conserve water, as treatment plants have been underwater, making it impossible for all that water to be treated.
The food waters rose so quickly that they spilled over a wide area. Most of the flood damage occurred in places that have not experienced flooding before. Thus, most victims of the flood don't have flood insurance and will not be able to collect insurance money for lost homes and possessions.
Since Nashville is a tourist area, many tourists were among those who had to be evacuated to temporary shelters. We also depend on conventions for a lot of our revenue. Yet, many scheduled conventions will have to be moved elsewhere, as the facilities will not be in shape to receive them.
Many companies have not been able to carry on as usual. Even government buildings and operations have been affected.
We do have a series of dams around here, and fortunately, our dams held strong. The Corps of Engineers were able to control the release of some of the flood waters in an effort to minimize their path through the area. As unimaginably bad as the flooding has been, it could have been worse. There's been some controversy about the Corps management of the flood, as some think that they could have done a better job and prevented some of the flood deaths. I'm not qualified to speak to that. However, as some of the havoc in New Orleans was due to burst dams and levees, I'm counting it as a blessing that the dams did not crumble under the power of this unprecedented flood.
On a happy note, this is the third day of sunshine, so we are all rejoicing. Though there are still plenty of floodwaters around, the sun is helping to dry things. Another great thing to see is how the people of the city have pulled together. Many volunteered to help with rescues and evacutations. Others have volunteered at the animal shelters or have donated supplies. Many are helping friends clean up and salvage what they can.