Officials in Nashville braced for more deaths today as the flooded Cumberland River continued to swell, sending muddy water rushing through neighborhoods and threatening the historic heart of Music City after a destructive line of weekend storms killed 21 people in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky. Using motor boats and canoes, authorities and volunteers rescued scores of residents trapped in flooded homes, some which looked like islands surround by dark river water. The downtown — home of a historic warehouse district that dates back to the 1800s and is now occupied by bars and restaurants — was nearly deserted after authorities evacuated residents and tourists. Floodwater spilled into some streets near the riverfront, and restaurants and bars in the warehouse district were closed. A few blocks away, the historic Ryman Auditorium, longtime former home of the Grand Ole Opry, was in no immediate danger. "It's shocking to see it this way, but it was an incredible storm," Mayor Karl Dean said as he surveyed the downtown flooding. The Cumberland River was expected to crest this afternoon at 11 feet above flood stage, and officials worried they may find more bodies in the rising floodwaters. Thousands of people took refuge in emergency shelters, including about 1,500 guests at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center who spent the night at a high school to escape the flooding. The resort's hotel, located northeast of downtown along the river, had "significant water" inside and would remain closed indefinitely, said hotel spokeswoman Kim Keelor. German tourists Gerdi and Kurt Bauerle, both 70, said resort staff suddenly started rushing people out of the area Sunday night.
Tenn. Officials brace for more flooding, deaths
Published: Monday, May 3rd, 2010
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