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May 6th, 2010
05:26 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: Nashville Rising

Justine Redman
AC360° Producer

Most of us have wondered which of our things we would rescue from our homes in an emergency. Jewelery? Documents? A lot of people say they'd grab their photo albums.

Today, hundreds of people in Nashville went home for the first time.

Today, hundreds of people in Nashville went home for the first time.

As Gary Tuchman and I toured a badly-hit area of Nashville today with a search and rescue team, one particular sight brought home the astonishing speed with which the flood waters gushed into this region: we saw a couple crouched in their driveway, laying out photos to dry. They hadn't even had time to save them when they evacuated, but it looked like the photos were one of the first things they came back for.

You actually have to hunt really hard to find any flood water in Nashville today. When the water came, it came fast – rushing in to 12 feet above the normal level – but when it left, it went pretty quickly too. If you find a patch, watch it for an hour you can see the level drop.

But in some ways this is the worst time: as the water recedes, the damage reveals itself, and the long haul begins.

Today, hundreds of people in Nashville went home for the first time. They found their houses stinking of damp and the rotting contents of their refrigerators. They pulled the carpets up, laid the mattresses out to dry, and marveled at the water marks three feet up their walls.

Front lawns are strewn with waterlogged possessions basking in the sun; it looks like entire neighborhoods are having yard sales.

Front lawns are strewn with waterlogged possessions basking in the sun; it looks like entire neighborhoods are having yard sales.

Front lawns are strewn with waterlogged possessions basking in the sun; it looks like entire neighborhoods are having yard sales.

Most people we talked to today say they feel blessed. They were scared, but they survived. Tennessee's death toll stands at 19.


Filed under: Justine Redman • Weather
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