“All of a sudden it was like a tidal wave that just passed on the road and in my backyard,” she told CNN.
Hipshire rushed to pack a bag and save herself, her 8-year-old son and her husband.
“And my house fell off the foundation while we were still there, so we had to smash the kitchen window and crawl out of it and get up on the roof as fast as we could.” “
Among those killed were 7-month-old twins, Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency spokesman Gray Collier told CNN on Monday. Details of the infant deaths were not immediately available.
Rain flooded the area west of Nashville, sweeping people, homes and vehicles as residents attempted to escape. Flooding damaged infrastructure, schools, homes and other facilities in Waverly, Waverly Police and Fire Chief Grant Gillespie said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
About 10,000 customers in Middle Tennessee have lost power, CNN affiliate WSMV reported.
The number of people unaccounted for continues to fluctuate as names are added to the list while others are reported unharmed, Collier said. The resumption of mobile phone service has helped reduce the missing 45 list, Gillespie said.
“We need patience and prayers,” Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said, adding people should stay out of the area while they continue their operations. Local officials are trying to come up with a long-term plan, he said, but “we are overwhelmed.”
The body of Davis’ best friend had been found, the sheriff revealed at a press conference.
“He drowned in that, and sitting here thinking about that, yeah, it’s tough but we’re going to move on,” Davis said.
Rescue and recovery efforts “will continue until we find all of the missing Tennessians,” said state emergency management agency director Patrick Sheehan.
“It’s pretty devastating on the ground,” Sheehan explained, adding, “We’re going to see mostly recovery efforts at this point rather than rescue efforts. “
Also among the dead was a foreman who worked on Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Humphreys County, a Facebook statement from the country music legend said on Sunday. Wayne Spears was the longtime foreman of his property, the statement said.
“There are no words at the ranch today… only tears. Our ranch family is our family, ”Lynn said in her Facebook post. “He’s taken such good care of things here at the ranch for us. He’s one of us and the whole Lynn family is heartbroken. Please pray for his precious family and friends. “
The Tennessee Department of Health has so far confirmed 16 deaths, Sheehan said, noting that the deviation from the toll reported by local authorities is due to the Department of Health’s strict process to validate the deaths.
Rainfall may have set a record in Tennessee
Saturday’s precipitation total reached 17.26 inches north of Centerville, Hickman County; 17.02 inches in McEwen, Humphreys County; and 13.76 inches near Dickson, Dickson County, the Nashville National Weather Service said.
The precipitation total at McEwen could become a state record when formalized, said Krissy Hurley, warning coordination meteorologist for the Nashville Office of the Meteorological Service. Centerville is not a verifiable weather station in terms of official records, the office told CNN.
“We were getting rainfall rates of 3 inches per hour for three hours straight,” Hurley said. “It’s an incredible type of astronomical statistic to see after the fact. ”
Saturday’s flooding was caused by multiple storms forming in the same area.
“We had a fixed border on the western part of Middle Tennessee which provided the perfect installation conditions, constant training of (storms) over this area for several hours along this border,” said meteorologist Mark Rose of the service. Nashville Weather forecast. service bureau told CNN.
“The rainfall forecast for the next seven days shows next to nothing” for the area that was flooded over the weekend, Rose said. “It will be a relatively dry week ahead. “
Humprheys County schools close for the week
The flooding happened so quickly that the Humphreys County school principal got stranded on the roof of Waverly Junior High, he said, WSVM reported.
“We had helicopters going by, boats going by, and we said you were all going to see someone else. Everything was fine. We were safe, ”said Richard Rye. “But to see old people and children, like I said, I’m numb. “
Rye canceled classes for the week, saying several buildings are in ruins and half of the school buses are not operational. McEwen High School has become a reunification center for people displaced by the floods.
“Right now I’m not worried about the schools,” Rye told WSVM. “We’re going to rebuild, we’re going to clean them up. We will do what we have to do to get our kids back to school, but right now we are worried about our kids. “
Governor mourns “huge loss of life”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee reviewed the flood damage in Humphreys County on Sunday and called it “a very tragic and difficult situation.” He cited a different precipitation total.
The large amount of rain that fell – a record 14 inches, according to the governor – created “devastating flooding in the community” and “huge loss of life,” Lee said.
Lee spoke to flood survivors and was shocked to learn how quickly their situation had become dire, he said.
“They would see water in their backyard and then within minutes it would enter their house,” Lee said, adding that residents had gone from “seeing the floodwaters rise to not being able to escape from their homes. houses “.
Lee described the consequences as tragic: “Houses have been washed away by their foundations, cars strewn across the community. It is a devastating picture of loss and grief, ”he said.
First responders, including the National Guard, will remain at the scene while search and rescue operations continue, the governor said.
“What we know is that it is incredibly difficult, and our hearts and our prayers must be for these communities, for these people in this community, many of them who have suffered not only the loss of their homes. and their property, but the loss of family and friends, ”Lee said.
Sheriff describes the pain of not being able to help everyone
As emergency responders attempted to enter the flooded area on Saturday night, their efforts were complicated by broken phone lines and flooded roads, said Davis, the Humphreys County Sheriff.
He compared it to a mother’s feeling that she couldn’t reach her child.
“Knowing that you have people who have stayed who can’t get help… I have people floating in the creek that no one can reach, and no one can help.” It hurts. It hurts, ”he said, fighting back tears.
Waverly Mayor Buddy Frazier said the loss of life was unlike anything the town has ever experienced.
“I’ve been there for a long time and been through a lot of events here and this one really brought me back,” Frazier said. “It’s bad, it’s bad: the number of people that affected the number of lives lost. ”
CNN’s Keith Allen, Alta Spells, Haley Brink and Kay Jones contributed to this report.