You may not have noticed what is going on in my hometown. With the bomb in Times Square, BP oil spill, and Sandra Bullock's adoption, there has hardly been any time left to cover the drowning of a major U.S. city.
The rain started on May 1. By the end of May 2, the weather reports said it was already the rainiest May on record (and May is usually a rainy month anyway). That should give you some idea of how much rain came over the weekend.
I happened to be traveling this weekend and thus had to rely on national news to see what was going on in the world. I talked to my husband on Saturday night, but with the TV and internet out, he didn't know the depth of what was going on. He complained about the rain forcing him inside all day, and told stories of the waterfalls that formed on our neighbors' steps down to the street. Our mulch washed away. So we had some bad rain, but didn't exactly seem national news-worthy.
Then I checked FB. I saw this confusing update from one friend about the new lake by his house. And then another friend mentioned trying to find a water pump. Soon most of my Nashville friends on FB were sending out requests for help or providing links on how to help. Turns out, we were lucky. We live on a small hill. The water rushed right past us. And we are far enough from the river that the rising water did not affect us. Other areas of the city were not so lucky. Entire neighborhoods are underwater. A local school building floated down the interstate. Last I heard, 28 people in the area are dead.
Remember the pictures I shared last weekend from my marathon? Here is one picture again.
See that building at the end of the street I walked on? The one that has two towers sticking out of the top? Here is what that area looks like today.
Landmarks are ruined. A major hotel and conference sight will be closed for a year, which is devastating to the economy that depends on tourism and convention dollars. One of our two water treatment plants was flooded. The second plant came within half a foot (!) of flooding and putting us on boiled or bottled water.
But I didn't see any of that as I sat in my hotel watching the national news. I understand that Times Square and the oil spill are big stories too, but surely in a 24 hour news station they could find a few minutes to cover a flood of the magnitude that only happens once every 1000 years. They found time to get the latest gossip about Tiger Woods or debate whether Sandra Bullock should adopt a Black baby. I flew back last night to a city still reeling and trying to figure out what happened. To neighbors trying to salvage their belongings. To colleagues who have lost their homes. To businesses closed and livelihoods lost.
Nashville and Tennessee need your help. Donate to the Community Foundation of Nashville, Nashville Red Cross, or the Second Harvest Food Bank (whose warehouse flooded and contaminated millions of dollars of food). And then come and visit us. Not right now, but in a few months. Nashville is quite lovely in the fall.
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