Tennessee Residents Scramble to Clear Flood Debris, Cover Roofs Before Ida Drenches Area

Rural Tennessee residents are scrambling to clear debris from intense flooding on August 21 that killed 20 people, and cover roofs of damaged homes with tarps before Hurricane Ida is expected to drench the area, the Associated Press reported.

Volunteers and emergency workers are also working to clear debris as central Tennessee was issued a flash flood watch from the National Weather Service, anticipating rainfall from Ida's remnants that could range from 2 to 5 inches Monday evening through Wednesday.

The Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency acknowledged there could be flooding in Waverly and other areas severely impacted by the recent flooding but said it's "not expected to be the magnitude of last week's flooding," based on what the National Weather Service has said.

Over 800 loads of debris from the flooding that hit Humphreys County, where roughly 18,000 people are located, have been taken to a landfill.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Building Destroyed By Flooding in Tennessee
Rural Tennessee residents scramble to clear debris from recent flooding and cover the roofs of damaged homes before rain from Hurricane Ida drenches the area. Above, people watch cleanup efforts after buildings were destroyed by flooding on August 23, 2021, in Waverly, Tennessee. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Authorities are encouraging people to cover their damaged homes and other property. They also said they are watching the forecast and preparing in case the situation becomes dangerous.

"Waverly Department of Public Safety is monitoring the weather and will go into affected neighborhoods to announce should evacuations become necessary," an emergency agency flood recovery report said Monday.

The flooding took out houses, roads, cellphone towers and telephone lines, with rain totals that more than tripled forecasts and shattered the state record for one-day rainfall. More than 270 homes were destroyed and 160 took major damage, according to the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency.

Much of that destruction centered on Waverly, a small city about 60 miles (95 kilometers) west of Nashville. The town of McEwen near Waverly was pummeled with 17 inches (43 centimeters) of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Jeani Rice-Cranford helped shelter about 15 people at her house, which sits on a hill, during the floods and said she has anxiety about the prospect of another significant drenching for her community.

She said she is concerned about people potentially getting trapped again and whether she has enough supplies if she needs to help once more. She also worries about how much more people could handle on the heels of a tragedy.

"It's been a week now, so some of the numbness has worn off, and some of the processing is beginning," she said. "I think our officials have done a great job with coordinating with mental health experts and getting people in."

Damages From Flooding in Tennessee
Rural Tennessee residents scramble to clear debris from recent flooding and cover the roofs of damaged homes before rain from Hurricane Ida drenches the area. Above, damaged homes and cars in Waverly, Tennessee, on August 25, 2021. Mark Humphrey/AP Photo