4.3 Record Floods of Greater Nashville, May 1 - 3, 2010

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 4:00 PM
6B (Washington State Convention Center)
Jane Hollingsworth, NOAA/NWS, Reno, NV; and A. W. Wood

On May 1-2, 2010, record-breaking rains struck Kentucky and the Tennessee Valley region. Western and Middle Tennessee were hardest hit with local amounts of 18-20 inches to the south and west of Greater Nashville along the Interstate 40 corridor. Much of western and Middle Tennessee, including Greater Nashville, experienced widespread, devastating flash flooding, as well as unprecedented flooding along the Cumberland River and its tributaries. There were 26 flooding fatalities directly attributed to this event in Kentucky and Tennessee, 11 of which were in Greater Nashville. Preliminary estimates of property damage are in excess of $2 billion in Greater Nashville alone. From a Societal Impacts perspective, the over-riding perspective of citizens who experienced flooding was that "they had no warning", despite numerous NWS warnings and continuous scrolling of those warnings on TV. A significant issue was the inability of the public and some NWS partners to relate river stage values to the impact those levels would have on specific locations, i.e., "will my home be effected"? The urgency of the flooding situation was not perceived by customers, partners and the public. Finally, the need for the NWS to relay probabilistic flood forecast information and confidence levels in traditional deterministic forecasts was expressed by EMs, local official, and business owners in Nashville.
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