(HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Tennessee) – At least 22 people have died and 60 are missing after central Tennessee was hit with record-breaking rainfall from Friday to Saturday morning.
Flooding in the area caused cars to be thrown away as toys and houses torn from their foundations, officials said.
A preliminary precipitation total of 17.02 inches was measured in McEwen, Tennessee on Saturday, which would break the all-time 24-hour precipitation record for the state of Tennessee, according to the National Weather Service. The old record was 13.06 inches, recorded in Milan on September 13, 1982.
In Humphreys County, 10 people were killed and about 40 people remain missing, Rob Edwards, deputy head of the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office said on Saturday. On Sunday, that number rose to 22 dead and 60 missing.
Gray Collier, public information officer for the county’s emergency management agency, told ABC News Sunday night that the number of missing people was “far from concrete” and was changing rapidly.
The Waverly, Tennessee, Department of Public Safety has released a list of those potentially missing. The list does not include missing children, Collier said.
Humphreys County is located along the Tennessee River, about 90 minutes west of Nashville.
âWe have power outages all over the area,â said Rob Edwards, deputy chief of the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office. âTo compound the problems is the loss of all cell phone coverage from major carriers. They bring portable units to facilitate communications. We have lost a lot of rural roads and major highways. In my 28 years, this is the worst I have ever seen.
President Joe Biden expressed his “deepest condolences” to the victims and families of the flash floods at a press conference on Sunday evening. He said the federal government had contacted Governor Bill Lee.
âWe will offer all the help they need for this terrible time,â Biden said.
Lee was due to give an update on Sunday night.
Flash flood watches were in effect across much of central Tennessee on Saturday.
The Hardin County Fire Department, which went to help neighboring Humphreys County, called the destruction “unbelievable” and said search teams would return to the area on Sunday morning.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has warned people to avoid travel to Humphreys, Houston, Dickson and Hickman counties.
The Red Cross said it had opened emergency shelters at the Dickson County YMCA in Dickson; Fairfield Church of Christ in Centerville; and the Waverly Church of Christ and the Waverly First Baptist Church in Waverly.
ABC News’ Max Golembo, Victoria Arancio, Will McDuffie and Matt Foster contributed to this report.
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