At least 21 dead, 20 missing after catastrophic flooding in Tennessee

A flooded street in Waverly, Tennessee.
A flooded street in Waverly, Tennessee. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

At least 21 people were killed when a devastating storm hit central Tennessee this weekend, dropping as much as 15 inches of rain in some areas and causing widespread flooding.

The city of Waverly, 60 miles west of Nashville and home to about 4,000 people, was ravaged, with severe flooding causing houses to come off their foundations. Surging water flipped cars onto lawns, downed power lines, destroyed the city's football stadium, and flooded homes, leaving hundreds without shelter, The Tennessean reports. As of Sunday evening, there are 20 people still missing in Waverly, and search and rescue teams are going door to door to see if they can find anyone trapped inside flooded buildings.

Vanessa Yates told The Tennessean that late Saturday morning, about four hours after it started to rain, water began to seep into her home. Once the water reached her ankles, she put her 4-month-old daughter on the top of a kitchen cabinet and punched out a window, giving her an escape route. "I thought I was going to drown with my baby," she told The Tennessean. "I didn't know what to do."

Yates' brother kayaked to her house and helped get her and the baby to safety. Yates' husband, Anthony, works at a nearby restaurant, and due to the floodwaters had to abandon his car and walk the rest of the way home. Because the power was out, cell phone communications were mostly down, and he didn't know if his wife and daughter had been rescued, he told The Tennessean. Once he arrived at their house, Anthony found the family's dog sitting on a floating couch, and helped get her to safety. Read more at The Tennessean.

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