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Power Outages Slow Nashville Flood Cleanup

Posted on 06 May 2010

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Residents and volunteers in Nashville Wednesday dug through ruined possessions, mud and debris inundating flood-hit homes and businesses, with the recovery from deadly weekend storms hampered by power outages.

Nearly 1,000 people in Tennessee were living in emergency shelters, according to the Red Cross, and 10,000 were without power.

The overflowing Cumberland River and its tributaries were gradually retreating in Nashville, but flood waters that submerged part of downtown and forced evacuations across the region have caused billions of dollars in losses, officials said.

President Barack Obama granted the state's request for disaster relief in four counties, with more areas likely to receive federal help.

Nashville officials pleaded with residents to conserve water as the city was relying on a single water treatment plant that sandbags had barely spared from the flooding.

In parts of downtown, power was not expected back until Thursday at the earliest.

In some hard-hit neighborhoods along the river outside of downtown, residents who had frantically fled their homes returned to find mud-caked floors and soggy furniture.

The production of country music in the city also seems have survived unscathed from the more than 13.5 inches of rainfall that fell Saturday and Sunday. "Music Row" — an approximately four-square block area that houses recording studios, record labels, song publishing companies and others on the business side of the music industry — is a mile from the river and wasn't flooded.

The water swelled most of the area's lakes, minor rivers, creeks, streams and drainage systems far beyond capacity. Much of that water then drained into the Cumberland, which snakes through Nashville.

The weekend's storms that spawned tornadoes along with flash flooding also killed six people in Mississippi and four in Kentucky. One person was killed by a tornado in western Tennessee.