NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At least four people were killed and swift-water rescue crews plucked more than 130 people from cars, apartments and homes as devastating storms continued to hammer the South.
An overnight deluge pounded parts of Tennessee with 9 inches of rain. Nashville International Airport had recorded 7 inches as of 5 a.m. Sunday.
“The rainfall we got yesterday and overnight made this one of the wettest 24-hour periods in Nashville’s history,” National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Shamburger said.
Storms were marching northward Sunday, and North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana among likely targets, rolling as far north as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, forecasters said. Gusting winds and possibly tornadoes, hail and flooding were possible, AccuWeather said.
“There is a lot of wind energy for storms to tap into,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said. “It won’t take much to get wind gusts to 70 mph or perhaps more with the strongest storms.”
Multiple tornadoes touched down in Alabama last week, the second line of severe storms to slam that state in two weeks. Mississippi and Tennessee also were hard hit by the wild, dangerous spring weather.
2 killed in Nashville flooding, more than 100 rescued: flood warning in effect
Tennessee drew the most powerful storms over the weekend. Vehicles submerged in floodwaters half way up the doors sat abandoned on I-24 in Nashville. A portion of I-40 also was shutdown because of high waters.
Metro Police reported a presumed flood death on a golf course Sunday morning. Authorities believe the man’s car ran off the road into a culvert at Nashboro Boulevard and Flintlock Court and that the man exited the car and was swept away by high water, police said. Another person died in a vehicle on a local road, according to Metro Police.
Also, a man and a woman dead near a homeless camp after flooding swept through the area, police said.
South of Nashville, in Williamson County, more than 50 roads were closed Sunday morning because of flooding, according to the county’s Emergency Management Agency.
“Folks there is still MAJOR flash flooding ongoing tonight across Middle Tennessee – please do not drive through any flooded roadways! ” the weather service in Nashville tweeted Sunday.
Carolyn Miller said some of her neighbors on the Harpeth River had to be rescued by emergency crews overnight as waters encroached on their homes. Her yard was littered with debris Sunday morning. She said neighbors began texting their issues around midnight.
“Once people got stuck, we were able to tell the police and tell them where to go,” she said, adding that “with any emergency situation, you count on those around you. I wouldn’t want to be in a different neighborhood.”
Multiple tornadoes pummel Alabama: 7 Southern states in path of severe weather
The Nashville Fire Department said crews responded overnight to an apartment building that had been compromised because of a mudslide. Two people were taken to the hospital for non-critical injuries.
“There were multiple people unable to leave the building on their own due to flooding in the area,” Fire Department spokesperson Kendra Loney said. “At least 15 persons (were rescued) from that building.”
In Rutherford County, county fire crews performed numerous rescues Sunday, the county Emergency Management Agency reported.
“It’s been a long night,” Rutherford County Public Safety Director Chris Clark said.
Contributing: Yihyun Jeong, Cole Villena, Duane W. Gang and Andy Humbles Brinley Hineman, Nashville Tennessean