At least 22 dead, many missing in Tennessee floods

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At Least 22 Dead, Many Missing In Tennessee Floods
A mobile home and a truck trailer washed away by flooding in McEwen, Tennessee, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Jonathan Mattise and R J Rico, Associated Press

A sheriff in Tennessee said that 22 people are dead in Humphreys County after record-setting rain caused devastating flooding that swept away homes.

A Facebook page from officials in Waverly listed about 40 missing people.


Michael Pate watches as a road is repaired in McEwen, Tennessee (Mark Humphrey/AP)

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said many of the missing were from neighbourhoods hit hardest by Saturday’s flash flood and the search for them continues.

The dead ranged in age from young children to elderly people, Mr Davis said.

Up to 17 inches of rain fell in Humphreys County in less than 24 hours on Saturday, appearing to shatter the Tennessee record for one-day rainfall by more than three inches, the National Weather Service said.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee toured the area, stopping on Main Street in Waverly where some homes were washed off their foundations and people were sifting though their water-logged possessions.

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Shirley Foster cried as the governor walked up. She said she just learned a friend from her church was dead.

“I thought I was over the shock of all this. I’m just tore up over my friend. My house is nothing, but my friend is gone,” Ms Foster told the governor.

The hardest-hit areas saw double the rain that area of Middle Tennessee had in the previous worst-case scenario for flooding, meteorologists said.

Lines of storms moved over the area for hours, wringing out a record amount of moisture — a scenario scientists have warned may be more common because of global warming.

The downpours rapidly turned the creeks that run behind backyards and through downtown Waverly into raging rapids.

By Sunday, the floodwaters were gone, leaving behind debris from wrecked cars, demolished businesses and homes and a chaotic, tangled mix of the things inside.

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