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Grand Ole Flooding

A significant weather system brought very heavy rain and severe thunderstorms from Saturday, May 1 through Sunday morning, May 2. A stalled frontal boundary coupled with very moist air streaming northward from the Gulf set the stage for repeated rounds of heavy rainfall. Many locations along the I-40 corridor across western and middle Tennessee reported in excess of 10 to 15 inches, with some locations receiving up to 20 inches according to Doppler radar estimates.


That was a quote from the NWS in Memphis about the flooding rains that occurred in early May 2010.


Several rainfall records in the Nashville area were broken during the rain event. 13.57 inches fell during the two-day period of May 1–2, doubling the record of 6.68 inches set in September 1979 during the passage of the remnants of Hurricane Frederic. On May 2 alone, 7.25 inches (184 mm) of rain fell, including 7.20 inches during a 12-hour period and 5.57 inches in a 6-hour period, eclipsing records set on September 13, 1979. The event also set a record for wettest May on record, surpassing the record set in May 1983 with 11.84 inches.


Two-day rain totals in some areas were greater than 19 inches. The Cumberland River crested at 51.86 feet in Nashville, a level not seen since 1937, which was before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control measures were in place. All-time record crests were observed on the Cumberland River at Clarksville, the Duck River at Centerville and Hurricane Mills, the Buffalo River at Lobelville, the Harpeth River at Kingston Springs and Bellevue, and the Red River at Port Royal.


Twenty-one deaths were recorded in Tennessee, including ten in Davidson County, which includes Nashville. Of the ten dead in Davidson County, "four victims were found in their homes, two were in cars and four were outdoors.


The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville was flooded as well, with 2 feet of water engulfing the stage.


The common areas of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel were destroyed, with parts of the hotel under 10 feet of water during the flood.


40 feet of water filled the underground parking garage of The Pinnacle at Symphony Place, a 417-foot tower in downtown that opened in February 2010, less than three months before the flood. Electric and elevator systems housed in the garage were damaged.


The Grand Ole Opry rescheduled it's performances to other areas for many months while the damage was repaired. It finally re-opened on September 28, 2010.


A somewhat shorter article this week as I have a lot going on, but thanks for reading again, and I hope you all have a great week!

Article published on May 1st, 2023 by Greg Dixon

HLEW Weather Rewind



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