Devastating floods kill 20 in Tennessee

Jene J. Long

Waverly, Tennessee — Devastating floods swept through central Tennessee, killing nearly two dozen people and leading President Joe Biden to approve a major disaster declaration for the state on Tuesday.

“The president’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Humphreys County,” the declaration said. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”

The storm brought with it deadly floodwaters. Linda Almond appeared horrified as the water started to rise outside her home.

“This is really scary,” she said during a Facebook livestream with her son.

Soon after, her house was swept away by the fast-moving flood.

“Whoa, whoa, this is really scary … Oh my goodness,” she said.

Her son survived, but Almond did not.

Rob Edwards, chief deputy of the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed Wednesday that 20 people died in the flooding. Also Wednesday, Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order to provide relief funds for the victims of the severe weather.

Cars are stacked on top of each other on the banks of Blue Creek being swept up in flood water on Monday, August 23, 2021, in Waverly, Tennessee. / Credit: John Amis / AP

Cars are stacked on top of each other on the banks of Blue Creek being swept up in flood water on Monday, August 23, 2021, in Waverly, Tennessee. / Credit: John Amis / AP

The unimaginable grief for some families in the area is just beginning.

Danielle Hall is mourning the loss of her 7-month-old twins Ryan and Rileigh, who were ripped out of their father’s arms as he tried to hang onto them and his two other children.

“I was just worried about my babies and the whole time I hung onto a tree for six and a half hours screaming that I had babies at the house that needed rescue,” she said. “They were our life, they were so inseparable. They were so happy. They made our life complete.”

GoFundMe pages have been made to ask for help covering funeral expenses for the dead, including one for the twins.

“The mother grabbed a tree and the father had the two twins, the 5-year-old and 19-month-old and sadly the two baby’s left his arms,” writes Charity Hooks on the GoFundMe page created for the family. “This money could help them with a lot,” she said, adding that the twins’ parents also lost their house in the flood.

A GoFundMe has been made for the family of the twins, who were identified as Ryan and Rileigh by their grandmother. / Credit: GoFundMe

A GoFundMe has been made for the family of the twins, who were identified as Ryan and Rileigh by their grandmother. / Credit: GoFundMe

Some people told CBS News that they couldn’t get through to 911 during the storm — or were simply added to a list of those waiting to be rescued at the time.

By the time one resident was rescued, her house had floated across the street as she clung to a mattress inside.

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