May 6th, 2010
07:27 PM ET

Latest Updates: Tennessee flooding

Workers try to pump water from flooding back into the Cumberland River along in Nashville, Tennessee.

[Updated at 7:27 p.m.]  Water continued to recede in flood-struck Tennessee Thursday, as the Cumberland River fell below flood stage for the first time since heavy rains last weekend overflowed it.

As of Thursday afternoon, the river stood at 39.5 feet, or about half an inch under flood stage, officials said.

The waters had receded in much of the city of Nashville, six days after the record-setting rains swelled rivers to historic levels and flooded several neighborhoods.

[Updated at 1:23 p.m.] Nashville's major business and government district, Metro Center, reopened at noon Thursday. Business owners and workers were allowed back on to their properties at Metro Center, though the area was still closed to the public.

Other parts of downtown were also reopened Thursday to residents and shop owners, the Nashville mayor's office said.

[Updated at 10:37 a.m.] The death toll has risen to 31 in three states from a massive weekend storm system that devastated parts of the Southeast, authorities said Thursday. 21 people were killed in Tennessee and the same storm system killed six people in Mississippi and four in Kentucky, emergency management officials said. The death toll could rise as rescue crews continue to search for several people who have been reported missing, including two kayakers in Kentucky and several people in Tennessee, officials said.

[Updated at 9:25 a.m.] "Nashville has obviously been hard-hit, and it's a well-known city, but there are so many other counties in the state and areas ... that have been hit very hard as well," Gov. Phil Bredesen told CNN from Nashville on Thursday morning."A lot of people who didn't have flood insurance, because they never thought flood waters would ever come anywhere near their home, are really looking at a total loss of their home," he said. "It's very tough on a lot of people right now."

The governor said 21 people had died in his state.  One of those deaths was related to a tornado spawned by the weekend storms, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said on its website.

[Updated at 8:31 a.m.] Twenty-one people have died in Tennessee from the flooding in the state, and the number may still rise because some people are missing, Gov. Phil Bredesen told CNN on Thursday.

[Posted at 7:49 a.m.] Six days after record-setting rain swelled rivers to historic levels and sent a torrent of water rushing through Nashville, Tennessee, much of the city of about 1 million people remained flooded.

Submerged, yes. But not at a standstill, the city's mayor proclaimed.

"We are coming out of this thing," Mayor Karl Dean said Wednesday night. "This has been devastating, but right now we're going to be focused on getting our city back up and working. "

The city government reports back to work Thursday, Dean said. Bus services resume. Teachers and staff at schools return to work, with students following the next day.

The iconic Country Music Hall of Fame is also expected to reopen before week's end.

Nashville "will remain Music City and we will go forward doing what we've been doing," Dean said.

As rescue and recovery crews continued to look for more bodies, the death toll across the southeast from the weekend storm stood at 28 on Wednesday.

Nineteen of the deaths were in Tennessee - nine in Nashville alone. Two residents are still missing, Dean's office said.

The mayor estimated the flood damage to his city to easily top $1 billion.

The worst, however, may have passed.

Even though the Cumberland River, which cuts through Nashville, stood about 13 feet above flood stage Wednesday, the flood waters should recede significantly in the next couple of days.

"We're not expecting a significant amount of rain through Monday," said Jim Moser of the National Weather Service.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Wanda - Nashville, TN

    I am glad to see a national news program is finally spending time lettting the world know about our recent natural disaster. New Orleans is not the only US city to ever experience disaster.

    Nashville is just as worthy and just as needy for federal aid after this natrual disaster. Clean up and rebuilding will take months and many dollars to accomplish. I only hope FEMA will do a better job than they did in NOLA!!

    We also have so many people locally who have jumped in to help others. Many thanks to those who are lending a hand to help others.

    Welcome to Nashville Anderson! How do you like the 100% humidity?!!

    May 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WideAwake

    I will not be donating. Sorry folks–I remember when Healthcare was a topic and pre-existing conditions. Those teaparty racist told me the government shouldn't help and I should basically die. I'm still here–thanks Obamacare.

    They shouted that they took care of me and I was just a n****. How funny God works.

    May 8, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. ARHP

    I want to send my regards to the people of TN, KY, and other affected states. This is quite a tragic situation and you are all working as hard as you can to return your life to normal. I haven't seen a group of people come together so quickly and begin restructuring as quickly as you have! You didn't wait for a handout or for someone to come save just got out there and did what had to be done! You are an inspiration! I hope we all learn valuable lessons here, but more importantly, I hope those affected by these storms can rise above it and carry on!

    May 9, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tony

    "I will not be donating. Sorry folks–I remember when Healthcare was a topic and pre-existing conditions. Those teaparty racist told me the government shouldn't help and I should basically die. I'm still here–thanks Obamacare.

    They shouted that they took care of me and I was just a n****. How funny God works.

    Posted by: WideAwake"

    Dear Wide Awake:

    It saddens me to read that you would condemn an entire state due to the actions of people not just from Tennessee, but all across the country. And while I can understand your bitterness, the logic used to tie the two together is rather faulty. It would be similar to someone like myself saying I wouldn't donate to relief efforts in Katrina because a person of color broke into my car. Those suffering here come from all walks of life and all types of political views. As was stated earlier, a natural disaster does not discriminate, and didn't only flood the homes of the Tea Party Activists.

    And to CNN, as was stated, thank you for keeping coverage on this important issue, and thanks to all those who have already dontated to the efforts to help us out!

    Nashville TN

    May 10, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Eddie Martin

    We are haveing troulble finding any one to talk to about helping with the clean up. We have the things that are needed for cleanup and would like to talk with someone about sup. working on the cleanup, but we can't find anyone, Why? If anyone knows who we talk to about this Please call me I'm at (256) 235-0368 or e-mail me at and thank you.

    May 27, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
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