FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY - TENNESSEE
A historic flash flooding event affected the central third of Middle Tennessee from the early morning hours on March 27 through the day into the early morning hours on March 28, 2021. A warm front moved northward into Middle Tennessee early on March 27 before stalling near the I-40 corridor. Between 300-400 AM CDT, numerous showers and thunderstorms developed along the warm front, many of which became severe and produced large hail up to half dollar size along with frequent lightning and heavy rainfall. Showers and storms continued off and on the rest of the day across Middle Tennessee, particularly near the stalled warm front. In fact, another round of severe thunderstorms including supercells developed during the afternoon and evening hours near and south of the warm front. These storms dropped large hail up to tennis ball size and caused a few reports of wind damage, but the main impact was additional heavy rainfall which began causing flash flooding south of Nashville. Flooding only worsened as showers and storms redeveloped over the same areas through the evening, with numerous Flash Flood Warnings issued and several reports of flooded roads and water rescues.
After midnight, even more heavy rainfall falling along the already waterlogged I-40 corridor prompted a rare Flash Flood Emergency for the southern and eastern Nashville metro area, including southeastern Davidson County, western Wilson County, and northern Williamson County. These areas received between 7" to 9" of rain, causing rapid rises on several Nashville metro creeks and streams, including Sevenmile Creek (which reached its highest level on record), Browns Creek, and Mill Creek, among others. Many of these creeks reached within their 2nd or 3rd highest water levels on record. The rapid water rises flooded hundreds of homes and businesses, with reports of some people trapped in the attics or on the roofs of their houses. Dozens of roadways were flooded and impassable, including both I-24 and I-40, with many cars submerged in the flood waters and people forced to cling onto trees to avoid getting swept away. Although the flood waters receded quickly on Sunday, March 28, many area rivers reached flood stage in the week after the event, including the Cumberland River, Harpeth River, and Duck River.
As of April 7, 2021, a total of 6 deaths have been reported from the flooding across Middle Tennessee, with 4 in Davidson County, 1 in Cheatham County, and 1 in Maury County. Emergency management reports indicate over 500 homes and businesses were flooded, with assessments still ongoing. This flash flood event was the worst seen in Middle Tennessee since the May 1-2, 2010 flood.