There have been floods and other natural disasters in Middle Tennessee over the years. For instance, I was living in Clarksville in the late 1990s when a tornado tore thru the downtown part of that city, leaving much destruction (fortunately, nobody was killed or seriously injured). Nashville itself has suffered major flooding of the Cumberland River on several occasions. Up to this past weekend local folk would sometimes refer to the flood of 1975 that inundated Opryland (the park had operated only three years at that time).
All these pale beside what occurred this past weekend. Saturday morning a front of severe thunderstorms which had already assaulted northern Mississippi and west Tennessee moved into the mid-state region. Thru Sunday the storms dumped over 13 inches of rain on Nashville -- a two-day record! The Cumberland River and its tributaries overflowed their banks, setting record flood crests!
Sadly, ten people have perished in the Metro area, 18 in Tennessee, including one in Montgomery County (Clarksville), and 29 in all states hit by the furious storm system.
The Cumberland did not crest until last evening. Opryland, of course, is history, replaced by a shopping mall. But that infernal mall (Opry Mills) now sits in water that's deeper than that of the Flood of '75! The Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry House both were invaded by the flood waters. Hotel guests and employees were evacuated to a nearby high school, and it will be months before it's back in business
And the world's oldest live radio show? Well, the show must go on, so it's returning to previous homes. Tonite's "Tuesday Nite Opry" will be performed in War Memorial Auditorium near the State Capitol, where the show was for a few years in the 1930s. And Friday and Saturday's shows will take place in the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Opry's home after War Memorial until 1974.
Downtown streets close to the river went under its floodwater, as did much of the area across from them, in East Nashville, and also a part of Metrocenter, north of them. Creeks in the southern and western parts of the county also saw major flooding. For instance, Mill Creek waters closed parts of Interstate 24 and major thoro'fares. And the creek floated a portable classroom of a private school off its foundations and onto the interstate hiway! Richland Creek to the west raged into a rock quarry that was well over a hundred feet deep, forming first a spectacular waterfall, and then a deep lake when the hole filled up.
When I arose Sunday morning it was during a lull in the rainfall. But by the time I went out to go to church it was pouring down at its worst! When I got out to Murfreesboro Road, its inbound lanes were a raging river, complete with rapids! So I saw that it would be very difficult if not impossible to get to services. But shortly I got a phone call that church activities at Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples) had been cancelled. And then local news coverage of the disaster reported that MTA bus service was cancelled. At last word, buses won't run again on the city routes 'til Friday.
All in all, this has surely got to be the greatest natural disaster ever to hit this area! I need to find some place that's selling tee shirts that say "I survived the Flood of 2010!"