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Pic of the Week

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Soggy in Nashville

We have certainly had an interesting few days.

Saturday the weather cleared up beautifully and we were able to spend the morning at the zoo with two of my September mom friends and their boys, Gavin and Miles, who are the same age as Ian, Miles' little sister Sophie, and their moms. We had a really nice time. Then we hit the road to go to Nashville, happy that the worst of the storms were behind us.

A few hours into the trip the campground called to see if we were still coming. Several of the interstates around Nashville were closed due to flooding. They advised us not to come. We checked with Jeremy's uncle Gary who lives nearby, and he said Nashville had had 12" of rain and 102mph winds. We decided we were close enough to Nashville for our liking and spent the night at a Walmart in Paducah, Kentucky. Plenty of storms but we figured the Walmart would be good shelter if we needed it. Thankfully we didn't (although lightning did strike close enough to knock out power to all the lights in the parking lot).

This morning we checked the weather lots of times. The best information we could find said that the storms would get to Paducah around 10a, and the worst in Nashville should be over by 10am. The campground said things were much better and we should be fine coming from the north. So we headed out. We stopped at the Tennessee welcome center and they assured us that the roads we needed to do would be fine. Since we had the little car, Jeremy stopped at a truck stop shortly before the exit. I went on ahead to scout since it's much easier to make a u-turn in the car. Everything was fine except for one spot on the frontage road, and that was a short-term thing that cleared up within 15 minutes. We got to the campground safely.

While checking in, they had the news on. They showed a shopping center that now had water 6' deep and they were rescuing shoppers and employees with boats. The children's hospital was flooded. That was our first indication that things were more than just rainy.

After our late lunch, we decided to take the kids out for a bit. We knew not to go far since by downtown things were flooded, so we tried to go to Opry Mills mall only a mile from the campground. But the road was closed and when we asked, the guy laughed and said Opry Mills was closed. When we turned around to go out we saw why. This is part of the parking lot area.

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

(that's the very top of a cargo trailer)
From Nashville flood

By this time the kids had fallen asleep in the car and we were intrigued. Obviously we weren't going to drive into any standing water but we wanted to see what was happening. So we drove up the hill and saw this down in the valley. It's a bit hard to make out, but those are full-size barns nearly submerged.

From Nashville flood

We also stumbled across this road to a golf course. (Yes, we turned around.)

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

Clearly this was worse than we had thought.

We decided to head back to the trailer and have dinner. Since the kids were still asleep, Jeremy dropped me off to fix dinner while he let the kids sleep a few more minutes. He drove a few blocks down the street to the KOA campground and discovered it quite underwater. After dinner we went out to take some pictures.

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

While we were gawking at the floods and feeling terrible for the people whose RV's were still there, we looked back at the fifth wheel we'd first seen.

From Nashville flood

We noticed that you could no longer see the headlights. And the road was getting deeper. Everyone else was noticing too. We figured the water had risen at least 6 inches in the 15-20 minutes we'd been there.

From Nashville flood

From Nashville flood

We decided to go back home and look at some elevation maps. Turns out our site, maybe 1/4 mile down the road, is only 3 feet higher in elevation than the flooded road. Literally all that separated our campsite from the floodwaters was a Camping World store. And it wasn't a big one. At this point, we decided we didn't really want to stay there for another 8 hours.

So Jeremy took the car and scouted out the road to a Walmart we'd heard was nearby, up on a hill, while I packed up the trailer. Small snafu-the bedroom slide wouldn't go in. We'd never had that happen and now, when we're trying to evacuate, we do. Thankfully, when Jeremy got back and looked at it it turned out to be an easy fix with a twist-tie and we got it in, praise the Lord. As we left we noticed the parking lot for the store on the other side of the campground was now flooded too, which means our campground was in the middle of the floodwaters. It's on a frontage road, and one direction was blocked at the KOA and the other end was blocked at Opry Mills. The only way out was highway 155, which was closed going one direction. The Walmart was the other way, which was thankfully still open but there were some low spots that looked like they could easily flood over. We're pretty happy we decided to leave because it would be easy to get stuck there.

So we're spending the night at Walmart again, up on a hill, nice and high. We feel a lot better up here. And we're glad we had the car to do scouting with today. We've had our fill of adventure for the day and hopefully tomorrow the waters will go down and we'll be able to go back to the campground.


emily cristen said...

the waters aren't going down. i live here, and my advice is to just stay away for your own safety. Opry Mills Mall is having water up to ceilings in some places now, and parts of Downtown Nashville are underwater. Riverfront Park is completely flooded and spilling onto Broadway. Please, just go home. Come back to Nashville when flood waters have comepletly receeded. Do not risk your safety and your family's safety to "look around." If you want to see the damage and stuff, just watch the news. You'll have continuous coverage. These waters will continue to rise. Just go home. For your safety.

Kim & Jeremy said...

Thanks for the advice. Maybe you've read our blog-this is our home. There's nowhere for us to "go home" to. We're not risking our safety. There's no way we would take our kids anywhere we felt was dangerous. That's why we moved our house last night to be up on a hill. We walked down the block to take most of those pictures. As soon as the roads are clear we'll be leaving. We don't have cable or satellite so we didn't know what things were like before we got here. But thanks for the tips.

RocketGirl said...

I live in southern Nashville and my dad is in town for my graduation this upcoming weekend. He is at the campground your family was at (Two Rivers). We drove to stay up there on Saturday because of our drainage system backing up here (turns out it was clogged and eventually cleared, no flooding at our house).

We packed up last night around 10:00 and my husband and I scouted the route to our house. Dad stayed with the RV and truck ready to go. We made it home with no difficulty and told him to head our way but my dad is stubborn and chose to stay at the campground. As of noon today he said he has had no troubles.

I enjoyed your pictures, thanks for posting them.

Stay safe and dry and I hope our city drys out sooner than later!

DrSus said...

We are hoping to be in Nashville on May 12 for our daughter's graduation on May 14. We have reservations at Two Rivers Campground. Where could we dry camp if Two Rivers is not operational? Or just park the RV? (We have friends who have offered to put us up, but no place to park a big motor home.)

Jeremy said...


Two Rivers Campground is fine. We're camped there now, and the only floodwaters we had were a few inches deep across one campground road, and that's gone down this morning. I don't think there will be any road closures on major roads within a few days, so I don't see any problems with your May 12th visit.

Sharon said...

Oh my! These photos are really terrifying. I've seen a number of photos online that shows the destructive effect of the flood in Nashville. I hope that this incident will serve as an eye-opener not only to the government officials but also to the citizens to show concern about the environment and in finding the most effective stormwater solutions. I'm pretty sure that by proper storm water management and strict implementations, such floods can be prevented.

Thanks for sharing this post Kim and amp. Hope you guys are all okay. My regards to you and your kids.

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