18 dead after flash flooding in Middle Tennessee, officials say

Mid-South

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The damage, suffering, and loss Humphreys County, Tennessee and surrounding areas have experienced in the aftermath of disaster have been felt across the state, as many are doing anything they can to help in the recovery.

Historic amounts of rainfall led to mass destruction and devastation. According to the National Weather Service, McEwen had 17 inches of rain.

Humphreys County officials originally said at least 22 people were killed, but the number has now been adjusted to 18 flood-related deaths.

“Our current count has come down because of a mistake in how we were tallying our missing and deceased,” explained Waverly Police Chief Grant Gillespie.

Chief Gillespie said they put a new system into place to follow up on the list of fatalities. “It’s been a little hectic, a little chaotic, and new to a lot of us. We followed up on every individual one and confirmed each one yesterday, and our numbers are lining up with the state’s numbers at 18.”

He added three people are still missing. “The three we have left on the list, we’ve investigated and have witnesses who put them in the water,” he said while tearing up and wiping his eyes. “We’re of course hopeful but still looking.”

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis was emotional as he addressed the media. “You have to remember these are people we know; these are people’s families we know; these are people we grew up with; these are people of our small county, and it’s very close to us.”

Sheriff Davis said Tuesday he has a better grasp of the devastation after taking a helicopter ride with Tennessee Highway Patrol and Chief Gillespie. “We have well over 125 homes that are just gone — off the foundation, twisted, turned, or just gone.”

The sheriff believes there are hundreds of additional homes that have been impacted with some type of flood damage people will not be able to stay in.

“The sheer devastation that we saw in that helicopter ride yesterday has made me realize we’ve got an extremely long road to go in all of this,” Sheriff Davis continued.

Both have said they have a long list of agencies who have offered to help them maintain city and county operations, like responding to vehicle crashes or answering 911 dispatch calls. “Just because we may not call you back today or tomorrow, don’t forget about us. We’re going to need you next week and the weeks to come,” emphasized Sheriff Davis.

The 8 p.m. curfew remains in effect for the city and county.

A boil water advisory remains in effect for those utilizing the Waverly Water Supply, as service is restored to the area.

Missing persons

The following list of missing persons was posted on Facebook by the Waverly Department of Public Safety.

  1. Amber Newman
  2. Kellon Borrow-Vaughn
  3. Lilly Bryant
  4. Tabitha Meadow

“We’re looking at areas we believe they may have gone into the water and of course traveling downstream following some of the logical places to look,” Gillespie said, addressing how they were looking for the missing persons. “We’re finding areas in the creek where debris has been collected — bridges especially. As that clearing has gone on there are professionals there helping to watch for victims.”

The Reunification Center at McEwen High School, 335 Melrose St. in McEwen, Tennessee is open until 5 p.m. Tuesday. So far, at least 60 individuals have been reunited with family and friends at the high school.

The Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office and Waverly Police Department ask if you have seen or talked to any of the missing persons listed to call 931-582-6950 or go to McEwen High School. They also ask if you previously reported someone missing and they have been found to call them.

To request a welfare check for anyone who cannot get in touch with their loved ones. They ask that you call 931-296-7792.

The American Red Cross has also set up a Flood in Tennessee online resource here, where flood survivors can register and let family and friends know they are safe.

How to volunteer

Those wanting to volunteer with the cleanup and recovery are asked to call ahead. The volunteer hotline numbers are 931-888-8011 or 931-888-8012. Volunteers are asked to report to the staging area located at the Dollar Tree parking lot at 515 West Main St., Waverly, Tennessee.

The Waverly Animal Shelter is in need of foster parents for animals in the aftermath of flooding.

How to donate

Monetary donations can also be made through First Federal Bank in Waverly with the Humphreys County Homeless Coalition fund.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations for Tennessee flood victims. You can donate here.

You can also text “FLOODRELIEF” to 269-89 or donate online to United Way of Humphreys County.

Watch “Rush Hour” weeknights at 6/5c on NewsNation.

Help for flood victims

Governor Bill Lee announced Tuesday that FEMA funding has been approved. President Joe Biden declared Humphreys County a federal disaster area following the August 21 flooding. Individuals can apply online or call 1-800-621-3362.

TEMA has set up a crisis cleanup service for those who need help with debris removal and home cleanup. The services are free but not guaranteed due to the demand. Call the hotline at 615-338-7404.

The following shelters are open to assist flood victims:

  • Waverly Church of Christ, 438 West Main St., Waverly
  • First Baptist Church, 300 E. Main St. Waverly
  • Compassion Church,1452 Clydeton Rd, Waverly
  • YMCA of Dickson County, 225 Henslee Dr, Dickson
  • Fairfield Church of Christ, 1860 TN-100, Centerville 

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