DICKSON, Tenn — (Update 8/25 at 7 p.m.) Middle Tennessee authorities said they believe they have recovered the final victim of catastrophic flooding that killed a total of 20 people in four counties over the weekend.
“We’re no longer expected to find anymore victims,” Waverly Public Safety Chief Grant Gillespie said Wednesday afternoon. “Now we’re cleaning up and trying to get things back to normal.”
Gillespie said one body was recovered on Wednesday morning and the last body was found later in the afternoon.
“We’re glad that our families now have closure,” Gillespie said. “The town will wear these scars for many decades."
Gillespie said operations would be shifting from search and recovery to a cleanup effort.
“When we have this many victims and to be able to get the closure, and speaking with TBI, a friend of mine over there, it’s unheard of. It speaks volumes of people who were there, boots on the ground,” Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has requested an Expedited Major Disaster Declaration from President Joe Biden to cover four counties, including Humphreys, Dickson, Houston and Hickman counties. Biden approved the measure Tuesday, making federal funding available to affected individuals in Humphreys County.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
The catastrophic flooding happened Saturday after 17 inches of rain fell on the town of Waverly in less than 24 hours, setting a new one-day rainfall record for Tennessee.
Authorities were also able to get an aerial look at the damage. They say it's worse than they thought it originally was.
"Hundreds of homes that have been affected by some type of damage, whether it's damaged with the water coming through the home that people will be able to stay in," Davis said. "You know we've got some folks that are in their homes that had the deep waist deep water, that now the waters receded that there won't stay."
Humphreys County Schools announced classes would be canceled this week because of the flooding. Three schools were impacted by the flooding.
Davis said that they are having issues with notifying victims because of the infrastructure issues in the county.
The Red Cross has set up an online resource, so flood survivors can register and let family and friends know they are safe. To access this resource, click here.
If you are interested in learning about volunteering with the Red Cross, or to make a financial donation, check out RedCross.org/Tennessee or call 1-800-Red Cross.