(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Dozens of people had to be rescued from their homes as heavy rainfall caused powerful flash flooding in the Nashville, Tenn., and Hollister, Mo., areas.
The National Weather Service extended its flash flood warning for Nashville until 3 p.m. Thursday, according to ABC News affiliate WKRN-TV.
In Madison, north of downtown Nashville, Nikia Allen had to help rescue her elderly neighbor from the rising waters. “We just had to get some friends to pull [somoneone] off a wall, because nobody stopped to help her. She was about 90 years old,” Allen said.
She said the woman had been stuck on the wall for more than two hours.
Betty McBride, also a resident of Madison, had her backyard destroyed by the flooding, caused by an overflowing creek behind her house. “The blacktop gravel’s all washed away,” McBride said. “The water came in my house through the front door, and a fence in the back is all washed down.”
McBride said the water in her house was waist-deep. Despite her home’s being damaged in a 2010 flood, she said she’d turned down flood insurance the previous week because she didn’t expect the intense flooding. “I just took out house insurance with another company Tuesday. I transferred from one to the other. ‘You want flood insurance?’ [the agent asked]. I said, ‘Oh no, it’s not supposed to flood again for another 100 years.’ That was just this week.”
Charles Shannon, Nashville’s assistant fire chief, told ABC News that there had been more than 35 rescue efforts just this morning. “Right now we’re looking at over 35 rescues. But now, when I say over 35, that’s not the number of people. There might have been five people in one removal,” Shannon said. “We have rescued all those people that had called in earlier. We will continue that process throughout the morning as people are calling in.”
Shannon said that the flooding in downtown Nashville was limited to sections of the interstate that had pooling water. He said that is where many of the rescues calls had come from. “There were actually people that were driving on some of our other highways that just tried to drive through some high water area on the road and they were trapped,” he said.
The real problem area, Shannon said, lies about four miles outside of Nashville, in Northeast Davidson County. There were no reported injuries.
In southwest Missouri, however, where about 10 inches of rain fell overnight in certain areas, a woman was killed after her car was swept away by waters from a nearby creek. Her name was not released.
Chris Bearnt, the fire chief of Western Taney County, said that two mobile homes had washed away in Hollister and that the water had risen so fast, people were hanging onto trees and on top of mobile homes to be rescued. Bearnt said Hollister residents were surprised at how fast the rain came down. “The water was not too swift in there and they walked out, and they were, probably a normal-sized person, probably was up to their neck in the water,” Bearnt said.
Bearnt has spearheaded rescue efforts in the area. “We did have to rescue probably about, not quite 20 people, and we’re actually still in the process for some of those,” Bearnt said. “These little creeks that can be just so calm and normal for years and years and years, can turn very bad just very quickly.”
The flash flooding continues to be a danger for people in both areas.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, CNN
Chandra Johnson, Deseret News