Tuesday, May 04, 2010

flooding reaches heart of nashville...,

Video - Party in the face of death.

WaPo | Muddy water poured over the banks of Nashville's swollen Cumberland River on Monday, flooding neighborhoods and parts of the historic heart of Music City after a destructive line of weekend storms killed 28 people in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.

The flash floods caught the city off guard, and thousands of residents and tourists were forced to flee. Authorities used motorboats and personal watercraft to rescue residents who had been trapped in their homes. The rapidly rising waters led to the deaths of 17 people in Tennessee, including 10 in Nashville, and officials feared that the death toll could increase.

Country music's landmark, the Grand Ole Opry House, was flooded with several feet of water, and at least 10 feet of water flooded the nearby Gaylord Opryland Hotel complex, indefinitely shutting down one of the nation's largest hotel and convention centers. The historic Ryman Auditorium -- the former home of the Grand Ole Opry -- and the recording studios of Music Row were not in immediate danger.

Downtown was nearly deserted after authorities evacuated the area. Floodwater spilled into some streets near the riverfront, and restaurants and bars were closed. Water filled the basement of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center where pianos were stored and seeped into a mechanical room in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"It's shocking to see it this way, but it was an incredible storm," Mayor Karl Dean said as he surveyed the flooding on Monday.

Gov. Phil Bredesen declared 52 of Tennessee's 95 counties as disaster areas after finishing an aerial tour.