Flood Waters Begin To Recede In Nashville; At Least 29 Dead

 Rescuers feared even more bodies would emerge as muddy flood waters ebb from torrential weekend rains that swamped Nashville, much of Tennessee and two neighboring states, leaving at least 29 dead.

The Associated Press
An Industrial Park is flooded on the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Rescuers feared even more bodies would emerge as muddy flood waters ebb from torrential weekend rains that swamped Nashville, much of Tennessee and two neighboring states, leaving at least 29 dead.

The Cumberland River that has submerged parts of Nashville's historic downtown was expected to start receeding Tuesday after being swollen by flash floods in creeks that feed into it.

Residents and authorities know they'll find widespread property damage in inundated areas, but dread even more devastating discoveries.

"Those in houses that have been flooded and some of those more remote areas, do we suspect we will find more people? Probably so," Nashville Fire Chief Kim Lawson said. "We certainly hope that it's not a large number."

Businesses along Nashville's riverfront lost electricity early Tuesday. Laurie Parker, a spokeswoman for Nashville Electric Service, said a main circuit failed before dawn, knocking out power to many downtown businesses, including the 33-story AT&T Building and a Hilton hotel.

The flooding also prompted election officials to delay the city's local primary, which had been set for Tuesday.

Restaurant and bars clustered on a downtown street remained closed because of the power outage. Bar manager Susan Zoesch said the closure would be hardest on servers who rely on tips.

"We're trying to figure out what we can do for them if we're going to be shut down for s while," Zoesch said.

Andy Mason, the concierge at a high-rise building of condominiums, said he was been advising residents to leave the 330-unit building because power wasn't expected to be restored for three days.

Thousands of people fled rising water and hundreds were rescued, but bodies were recovered Monday from homes, a yard, even a wooded area outside a Nashville supermarket. By Monday night, the rapidly rising waters were blamed in the deaths of 18 people in Tennessee alone, including 10 in Nashville.

The weekend storms also killed six people in Mississippi and four in Kentucky, including one man whose truck ran off the road and into a flooded creek. One person was killed by a tornado in western Tennessee.

In Nashville, the Cumberland also deluged some of the city's most important revenue sources: the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, whose 1,500 guests were whisked to a shelter; the adjacent Opry Mills Mall; even the Grand Ole Opry House, considered by many to be the heart of country music.

Floodwaters also edged into areas of downtown, damaging the Country Music Hall of Fame, LP Field where the Tennessee Titans play and the Bridgestone Arena, home to the NHL's Nashville Predators and one of the city's main concert venues.

Carly Horvat, 29, lives in a downtown condo and ventured out with a few friends to look at damage Monday night.

"I have never heard the city so quiet," Horvat said. "Usually, you hear whooping and hollering from Broadway."

Damage estimates range into the tens of millions of dollars. Gov. Phil Bredesen declared 52 of Tennessee's 95 counties disaster areas after finishing an aerial tour from Nashville to western Tennessee during which he saw flooding so extensive that treetops looked like islands.


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