Record rains cause flash flooding in Tennessee; 4 dead

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A car that was carried by floodwaters leans against a tree in a creek Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Heavy rain across Tennessee flooded homes and roads as a line of severe storms crossed the state. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Torrential rains across Tennessee flooded homes and at least one church and left roads impassable, prompting dozens of people to be rescued in the Nashville area. Authorities said four bodies were found Sunday in the flood’s aftermath.

Nashville received more than 7 inches of rain, the second-highest two-day rainfall total ever recorded, Mayor John Cooper said at a news conference Sunday.

Ebony Northern said a normally tame creek running through her Nashville apartment complex swiftly rose after heavy rain started late Saturday night. Within an hour or so, she could see some first-floor units in other parts of the complex being flooded. She said people moved to the second floor and she also heard calls for boats come in over the fire department scanner.

“The units are a mess. Some of the outside air conditioning units have floated off,” she said Sunday morning.

She said the American Red Cross arrived to assist her neighbors.

At least one church canceled in-person Palm Sunday services. The New Tribe Church in Mt. Juliet said on Facebook that knee-deep water flooded the building, busted out the glass of its front entrance and sent chairs through a hallway.

“I am smiling but our hearts are devastated,” Pastor Jarod Smith said at the start of an online service. “We are standing in our worship center and there’s just not enough words to describe what it actually looks like.”

Nashville Fire Chief William Swann said swift-water teams were placed on standby in anticipation of the storms. At least 130 people were rescued from cars, apartments and homes, while about 40 dogs were moved from a Nashville boarding kennel, Camp Bow Wow, to another location.