Nashville Flood of 2010

Nashville - 500 Year Flood of 2010

On May 2, 2010, Nashville had six months of rain in two days. The Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers, plus tributaries, flooded. Opryland was evacuated and flooded. The historic 2nd avenue area flooded. Much of the community we live in, Bellevue, also flooded.  Here is a link to a Tennessean story: National Media Overlooked

YouTube Video About Flood

The Reveal family was hard hit. Jonathan and Rebecca showed up at our house at 5:30 AM on Sunday. The dog woke them up at 4 AM and they noticed the water was half way up their back yard. By the time they packed up 2 cars and knocked on as many neighbor's doors as possible, the water was up to the deck. The front lawn was already flooded. They arrived at our house with two car loads, their daughter, two cats, and their dog.

Around 6:00 AM, Jonathan, Rebecca, and Nathanael went back to the house to try to rescue more things while I watched the kids. They couldn't get within 10 houses of their home. They later found out that a neighbor who has left 15 minutes after them had to abandon their car and walk after their car stalled out in the flood waters. People evacuated from one house to another and then had to evacuate that house too.  When Jonathan, Nathanael, and Rebecca tried to return, they were unable to make it back to our house. All 4 entry points to our neighborhood were flooded. They closed all 4 interstates in the city. I40 near where we live was flooded. They "visited" Aunt Donna for most of Sunday, and finally talked their way through a police blockade at I40 so that they could try to get down McCrory. McCrory was a bit flooded but the Forrester made it through. They had to drive UNDER a tree that had fallen and caught itself on power lines on the other side. (Luckily the power was out.) They made it home by 7 PM. The most frustrating thing was the lack of phone and cell service. We could text and the message might eventually get through, which helped ease the worries.

We were out of power for 48 hours. Luckily Mom has a gas line grill and we feasted on the food from her deep freezer before it thawed. One of the water plants was submerged in the city and we were put on water-saving restrictions. The gas station was out of gas, the two grocery stores on our side of town were in emergency rations mode and only selling prescriptions, batteries, and the like. Publix had a generator and put power strips outside the store...people were lined up charging cell phones. You had to get to Publix the "back way" as the front parking lot was flooded all the way to the YMCA.  There is a photos of a man in a boat touching the traffic light on Hwy 100, between the Publix and Y.

Jonathan and Rebecca's house ended up with 59 inches of water inside. Here are a couple of pictures of their neighborhood. Note the snake-like row of trees...that is where the Harpeth River should be.

Families and volunteers worked hard over the next week to strip the houses down to their studs. All belongings, dry wall, and insulation were put into the front lawns. Jonathan and Becca were very fortunate to have a huge number of friends and volunteers from the Climb Nashville community, Ensworth school, and Bellevue neighbors help them with hard labor and long hours. Photos had to be taken of everything for documentation. To understand the devastation, look through some of the photos taken below.

Most of the homes affected did not have flood insurance, as they were in 500-1000 year flood zones. Jonathan and Becca were lucky...when they bought the house they did not have flood insurance, but when they refinanced 11 months ago (post Katrina) the laws had changed and, as they were in a 500 year flood zone, they had to add a limited flood rider to their policy. It will not cover everything and they are having to argue with the insurance about how to rebuild, but they are lucky to have it. (The insurance company wants them to remove the sidling and "keep it" until the house dries and they put it back on. Contractors they have talked to say they will never get it completely cleaned and the water patterns will never "line up" perfectly if they do.) FEMA applications are being submitted...the maximum FEMA grant is $29,000.

In one of the neighborhoods where Helena's friend lives, there are 35 homes and 3 people had flood insurance. Families are having to deal with finding a place to stay, replacing clothing and necessities, and demolishing their houses down to the studs. At the same time they still must pay their mortgage on a flooded house and apply for a second loan to rebuild their house. If they get an apartment to live in while they rebuild, they have rent on top of everything else. It is too expensive to just "walk away" and the police are confronting people who are trying to as you can't leave a condemned house. 

One subdivision of condos had a fair number of retired folks and was hit hard. There are stories of people being evacuated from their 2nd story windows in boats and from the roofs of their homes. 

20 people died. 20,000 have applied for aid so far. Many cars and pets were also lost. 

School was out for a week. The elementary school where Helena and Xander attend has at least 8 teachers out with lost homes. Xander has 4 displaced families in his class, Helena has 3. The school is setup with tables of donated clothes and food, sign-up sheets for those in need and sign-up sheets for volunteers. When I drive to work, I drive through 5 different flooded neighborhoods...this is not limited to just Bellevue. It is heart-breaking. Jon Hasfjord's Tae Kwon Do partner, Ms. Wiz, lost her home, too. There are many families in our UU congregation who lost homes. 

I don't think there has been a ton of national media coverage, so share our story. It really hits hard when it is your city, your neighborhood, and your family.

If you would like to donate to help flood victims, we recommend the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.