The rain-swollen Cumberland River began to subside Tuesday, but not before the death toll from widespread storms and flooding rose to at least 29 in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi as emergency crews slogged through receding waters in search of bodies.
Worst hit was Nashville, where such iconic Music City landmarks as the Grand Ole Opry House and the Country Music Hall of Fame were inundated by murky brown floodwaters.
Country musician Marty Stuart, one of the mainstays of the 85-year-old Grand Ole Opry country music and comedy variety show, had two words Tuesday to describe flood damage to the Opry House: “It’s biblical.”
Power was out through much of the historic downtown area, and one of the city two’s water treatment plants was badly flooded and knocked out of service.
Authorities feared that receding waters from the Cumberland, which crested overnight at almost 52 feet – 12 feet above flood stage – would reveal more victims.
“Those in houses that have been flooded and some of those more remote areas, do we suspect we will find more people? Probably so,” Nashville Fire Chief Kim Lawson said.
The storms took a toll on the city’s tourist trade, a prime source of revenue for Nashville. Honky-tonks, restaurants and bars were flooded or closed. Floodwaters covered the playing surface of LP Field, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.