Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Music City Underwater

My hometown recently got nailed by some serious rain. Serious as in 18 people dead, 18+ inches of water in 48 hours, the Cumberland River crested at ~50 feet, the Harpeth River was 44 feet at the highest last time I checked.

It's pretty out of control and from what I hear, doesn't seem to be getting much coverage (Zac and I don't have a tv but that's the word on the street). Entire neighborhoods are literally underwater and downtown Nashville, Franklin, Lebanon, Leiper's Fork, Clarksville, etc are pretty screwed. There's sewage in the water now too, which is all sorts of bad. I have friends and know of many people who lost their houses.

My parent's street is right along the Little Harpeth River and I think they made out best of anyone on that street. Boat rescues on their street and couches and appliances floating in the houses. Not to mention sewage too. Ugh. Not good. Mom and dad had a few inches in the basement and will have to tear up the carpet and such, but I'm grateful that's the only damage that they got - especially since two times in 20 years our house has been hit by a tornado.

Look at the links below for more information and photos - the flooding is really horrible.

Forgotten Nashville



Probably not much could have been done to prevent this, since the rainfall was just so extreme, but I do hope that the great importance of stormwater management, riverbank and wetland restoration, etc is emphasized and improved after this. And people need to realize that raping wetlands, destroying riparian zones and leaving no buffers is devastating for water quality (and human quality of life, in my opinion) and only makes disasters like these so much worse.

Buffer zones, trees, root systems, wetlands, among others - these things are CRUCIAL to flood and erosion control. I am obviously very upset about people's houses being lost and the devastation that has happened in Middle Tennessee, but I'm not too upset about the mall areas and golf courses, etc being flooded. This is what happens when all possible permeable soil is paved over. When that happens, there's not really much that can help when upwards of 14 inches of rain comes down. Bad news in Music City.

On a good note- my parents said that one of the otters that lives in the lake was playing in the yard the other day, loving the flood water. And one of the resident Great Blues was going to town, foraging on all the fish that were in the yard. That made me happy. We'll be there in a couple weeks, will be interesting to see the damage done. Nature Notes

18 comments:

Tricia @ Bluff Area Daily said...

I've heard a bit about it all - This morning I heard on the radio that The Opryland Hotel is under water - I was there several years ago & can't imagine such devastation!!!
I hate it for all those people (and pets, as well) to have to endure such horrible conditions!!!

Robin said...

Such terrible devastation, my heart goes out to those who have lost their homes.

I hope that it is rebuilt somehow smarter next time, with more thought given to sustainability.

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joanny said...

Glad your parents and home is fine -- it is interesting but we are getting hammered with severe weather altering patterns changing our land formations. It has rained almost everyday in April here in the North West -- and still cloudy and wet skies for May.

We may have to start in our communities forming rescue and escape routes and storing supplies to help those who will need it during these times? Just musing on the serious side.

eileeninmd said...

It is sad to keep hearing about floods and bad things happening. It is great news that your parents home is fine. My hubby is really into the weather and water. He would agree with your post. The buffer zones need to be improved and more wetland restoration does

Stephanie V said...

It must be hard to be so far away when bad stuff is happening to your family. But I guess they're glad you're not in the same boat - as it were.
Flooding seems even more devastating than fire. It destroys but in such a yucky way.

Woody said...

Good to know the parents are safe! My nephew graduated from Vanderbilt and I'm sure he's upset. I'm not sure any plan would anticipate 14" of rain, but the overdevelopment need to be kept in check.

Carolyn Ford said...

Oh...I have been hearing about it on Facebook! My niece is going to Belmont College there and has been a freaking mess with stress! She was glad to get away from the California earthquakes and is now in the center of tornado alley! The sirens have sent her to the underground garage a few times, but, thankfully nothing developed but a ton of rain and the devastation that has caused, but, not directly to the property where she lives...except elevator damage and stuff like that. I hope your family and friends are okay back there. We have other friends in Kentucky until October, who are really getting an up close and personal education about flooding and possible tornadoes, too. And, they are in an RV...and we know how tornadoes LOVE RVs!
I am so sorry for those who are suffering through this and the long term effects it will have...Mother Nature is truly the BOSS!

Kathy said...

In the midst of the oil spill and the NYC attempted bombing there's a lot of competition for the news slots these days. However, there has been quite a bit of TV coverage about Nashville on Monday and Tuesday. Quite a long segment last night on NBC Nightly News.

Clytie said...

My thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering during this flooding.

I also don't feel so sorry for strip malls and golf courses under water. Too much of our country is being paved over, covered up, dug up, drained and pulled out by the roots. It's about time we opened our eyes and stopped this stuff.

RuneE said...

That sounded pretty bad, to put it mildly. 14+ dead is a major disaster. I'm glad your family did not suffer more themselves.

Your description of the causes tallies very well with what happened over here, repeatedly, some years ago. Norway's largest river (Glomma) flooded due to the melting of ice and snow - and all the wetlands had been used for farming, housing, roads etc etc. Very little wetlands were left. I THINK the authorities have done something, but I'm not quite sure. maybe we have just had milder winters...

Carver said...

I've been hearing about it and it sounds so terrible. I'm glad your parents are ok. I also like the idea that at least the otter and great blue got some benefit.

Rambling Woods said...

I have been following this on the news and it is horrific and heartbreaking...the loss of life and property..I am glad that the people in your family are OK...Michelle

Rambling Woods said...

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And we are going to see why this is true..more and more.....

Denise said...

Watched the news coverage tonight Jill, and my heart goes out to all those who have been affected by this as some reports have been heartbreaking. Glad to hear your parents damage wasn't too bad, bad enough I know. So much going on right now isn't there?

Bird said...

This is my first time on your blog - I just found you through Nature Notes. I am really glad to see that your family have been comparatively lucky in these devastating floods.

I also hope that the implication of all that destruction won't be lost on the powers that be and that some sensible and creative thinking will go into ensuring sensible land use from now on. Fingers crossed that some good can come of this...

Gel said...

Horrid devastation. Glad to read that your parents are ok. Still, the points you make in this blog post about the need to preserve and protect our earth, expressing how and why... are well-said.

KaHolly said...

Man leaves his signature on nature (oil spill, etc.), nature leaves it's signature on man (flooding, storms, etc.) ~karen

Johnny Nutcase said...

Thanks everyone for the thoughts- I'm still shocked by the severity of the flooding but still hope some good preservation/conservation oriented stuff can come out of this. My mom and dad have already had the downstairs floor and carpet ripped out, no fun for them! Luckily my brother was able to fly out for a few days to help out, so that's good.