At Least 22 Dead After Tennessee Flash Flooding, Authorities Still Searching for Missing People

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A view of the damage after heavy rain and devastating floods in Waverly, Tennessee on August 22, 2021. Getty Images

The rainfall in the state broke a record.

At least 22 people were killed during Tennessee flash floods Saturday, and on Sunday rescue workers were still searching to locate dozens of missing people, according to authorities.

The flooding took out roads, telephone lines and cell phone towers, making it hard for families to get in touch with loved ones, CBS News reported. Authorities were reportedly going door-to-door to check on people’s welfare.

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said most of the missing are in an area where the floodwaters rose the most rapidly, CBS News reported.

“I would expect, given the number of fatalities, that we’re going to see mostly recovery efforts at this point rather than rescue efforts,” Tennessee Emergency Management Director Patrick Sheehan said.

Up to 17 inches of rain fell in the county in less than 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service. It broke the one-day rainfall record in the state.

As of Sunday, the floodwaters had cleared but the devastation left was more than apparent. Homes, businesses and cars were all left demolished. Now, the search for people who are still missing is on.

Among those who died were a pair of twin toddlers that were swept away from their father’s arms, according to CNBC. Loretta Lynn’s ranch foreman, Wayne Spears, also died in the flooding.

"There are no words at the ranch today...only tears. Our ranch family is our family," Lynn wrote on Facebook.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee called the aftermath of the storm a “devastating picture of loss and heartache,” after visiting the area.

The Humphrey County Sheriff Office Facebook page is full of people searching for their missing loved ones and trying to get information. 

“We have power outages all over the area," said Rob Edwards, chief deputy with the Humphreys County Sheriff's Office. ”Complicating issues is the loss of all cell phone coverage from the major carriers. They are bringing in portable units to assist with communications. We have lost a lot of roads both rural and major highways. In my 28 years, it's the worst I've ever seen it."

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