[Updated at 9:18 p.m. ET] The Cumberland River in Tennessee was receding Tuesday as favorable weather was in the forecast, bringing some relief to the flood-battered state.
Severe weather over the weekend was blamed for at least 28 deaths across the Southeast - 19 of those in Tennessee - between Saturday and Monday, emergency officials said. Ten of the Tennessee deaths occurred in Nashville and surrounding Davidson County, the Nashville mayor's office said.
President Obama on Tuesday named parts of Tennessee major disaster areas.
The designation makes federal funding available to affected residents in the counties of Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson, according to the White House.
The Cumberland River crested Monday evening at 51.9 feet, 11.9 feet above flood stage, National Weather Service Meteorologist Sam Herron said.
"It's going to continue dropping through today," he said.
The National Weather Service expects the river to fall below flood stage by Thursday morning. The water should recede enough to leave the downtown Nashville area by Tuesday night, Herron said.
[Updated at 1:58 p.m. ET] President Obama released a statement on the flooding and storm damage in the Southeast:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with every American who has been impacted by the severe weather and flooding in the southeast, and our deepest condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones," Obama said in the statement. "I would also like to extend my gratitude to the local first responders who have been working tirelessly to save lives and protect property in the face of these devastating storms. I have spoken with the Governors in the most severely impacted states, and yesterday I dispatched FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to Tennessee to view the flood damage first hand and to report back on any unmet needs. Federal officials have been dispatched to the region and we will continue working in close coordination with state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts.”
[Updated at 1:31 p.m. ET] iReporter Chris McDonald, a junior at Vanderbilt University, says the university canceled final exams Monday due to flooding, so he and a friend trekked over to downtown Nashville, Tennessee, to see just how bad it was.
“It was just shocking to see the extent of the flooding. … Streets totally covered by water, water lapping up into shops. It was just surreal,” he said. iReport: Watch his videos
[Posted at 1:21 p.m. ET] Significant flash flooding swamped a U.S. Navy base in Tennessee and affected a large part of its operations, a base spokesman said Tuesday.
Water rushed into base housing and several other buildings at Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tennessee, less than 20 miles from Memphis.
Base officials shut down all of the affected buildings to limit long-term damage.
On the website for the base, a message from the commanding officer announced, "For Tuesday, May 4, only those personnel directly involved in recovery efforts need to report to work. All other personnel should check in with their chains of command."
Some buildings were undamaged, but some communication systems remained down.
Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson said engineers had assessed some of the residential streets and determined that some homes are safe for sailors and their families to return.
Those residents can go only to and from their homes; the rest of the base is still closed and considered unsafe. No visitors are being allowed on base at this time.