"[I've lived here] 12 or 13 years. I own the house. When I left yesterday, it hadn't gotten inside my house. It had just flooded my yard. It hadn't gotten near as high as it is now. My car is submerged. It's gone. Inside, I don't know what's going on right now. [I didn't notice any police or emergency personnel] until after it had really started to rise up quickly, and then we called, and eventually people got here. Until then, it was just our neighbors helping. I left between 6 and 6:30. It was scary."
— Barbara Carr, Inglewood
"Saturday I was visiting a close friend. We were scheduled to meet at Hickory HoIllow Mall at 5 p.m. I got there early, about 3. At roughly 3:15 she called my cell to find out where I was. She said she was moving up our meeting time to get back to her house before the downpour became worse and would see me at 3:30. Instead, It took her two-and-a-half hours to make what's normally a five-minute trip, because Bell Road was flooded and impassable. By that time, she said, there were boats coming to the Kmart at the intersection of Harding and Nolensville Road to rescue people trapped in the store.
"When we headed back, it took another two-and-a-half hours to find alternate routes, backtrack where cops were blocking washed-out roads, and survive gridlock. During that time, we saw businesses and houses submerged in water. Later we got close enough to the Blue Hill Road area right down from her apartment to see cars stacked and standing water everywhere.
"These were incredible sights, sequences that would strain credibility if you saw them in a film. But they were happening right in front of us."
— Ron Wynn, Antioch
"When the water lapping my front steps started receding Sunday afternoon, even though it was still raining, I was so overcome with relief that it took a minute for me to realize what had happened — something had gone very wrong downstream, and that had given the water in my yard someplace to go other than up and into my house.
"Monday morning, the scope of what had gone wrong was clear. A house stood in the intersection of Buena Vista Pike. The Tucker Road bridge over Whites Creek is in big crumbly chunks. Garbage and debris were caught three and four feet up in people's bushes and trees. Whites Creek had come up out of its banks and just swept through the neighborhood.
"I feel very lucky. But it's hard knowing that I have a house because other people lost theirs."
— Betsy Phillips, Bordeaux
"I know it sounds weird, but all last week I had this inkling something was coming — I had this urge to get bottled water and pack things up. [Saturday] just seemed like another rainy day, and I took a nap. We live right on the Harpeth, and about 12 o'clock [my husband] Scott woke me up. He said, 'The water's rising really fast.' Back when we bought flood insurance, the man said, 'You'll have time to get out what you need.' But it had never risen this fast. At 12, the river was halfway up our backyard. By 3 [that afternoon], it was three feet deep in our basement.
"We tried to think of what was most important. I grabbed the Wii — I know it sounds funny, but I knew the kids would want it. We told the kids to grab the things most important to them — their dolls, their clothes. A little creek was backed up all the way across the road [at the other end of our street]. When I saw that, I realized this wasn't normal.
"We weren't able to go back until Sunday morning, before the second wave of rain hit. By that time, the whole neighborhood smelled like smoke, gas, dead fish and chemicals. River mud is stinky. It was surreal to see our house just sitting there in the water. It didn't really hit us until ... there was this awful moment when Scott saw his mother's graduation photo floating in the water. I haven't been back since."
— Galyn Martin, Franklin
"I got into [email marketing company] Emma and it was a ghost town as a handful of folk here were either affected or out helping other folks or couldn't get to work, so I finished up my work for the day and got out of there as quickly as I could with the goal of scouting riverside to look for ways I could help. I grabbed a chainsaw for fallen trees, some rope, and other tools and also my kayak. I was laughing as I strapped it up, thinking 'There is almost no way, but why not?'
"I drove past Beth Lane and it was ruined, empty now. So I then headed towards Cornelia Fort Airpark on Shadow Lane and it was completely submerged. Only a few planes were salvaged, but everything else was underwater — completely. There were a handful of folks rubbernecking and not really doing much, but there were some other folks carrying stuff out of the water, which wasn't shallow. I jumped in my 'yak and paddled out to a house surrounded by almost four feet of water and helped some folks get in. The sight was unbelievable! There was over a foot of water throughout. The family were totally rattled, so I told them I would load up the 'yak like a pack barge and get any valuables and important memories to dry land. I ran a few loads for them, taking clothes, a military flag from a passed family member, some papers and other stuff.
"This house was about 50 years old and the owner was an elderly lady. I don't think they had flood insurance — which I imagine is most folks' scenarios. It was totally heartbreaking and easily the worst thing I have ever seen happen to some kindhearted, good folks. Completely destroyed — pictures, couches they sat on for years having time with friends and family, memories ruined. I hope they can start things over.
"Gonna head out again tonight and see how I can help."
— Dean Shortland, East Nashville
"I was looking out my back door, and I said, 'Wait a minute, this water's rising too fast.' I could see it rising. So I went to get them together. It was at ground level, and then it was at my back door. So I knew it was time to go. I had my grandbabies, see, and that was my main concern. Everything else can be replaced. We had just bought a 72-inch-flatscreen TV.
"[My fiancée and I] have been there about five years. It happens, man."
— Robert Anderson, Inglewood
"My neighbors in the Peebles subdivision near Almaville Road in Smyrna pulled together to rescue Lee, Betty, and Jennifer Allen's six horses Saturday, while the owners desperately tried to get home from a family vacation. Dr. Jennifer Allen owns Full Circle Therapy, a clinic specializing in therapeutic riding for the disabled. Jennifer's employee, Emilee Garrett, rushed from her nearby neighborhood with her parents and brother to help. My neighbor, Dennis Keane, helped the Garretts rescue the six therapy horses who were trapped in neck-deep water. Safe on higher ground, but with water rising rapidly, the horses would be in water again soon.
"With the gate underwater, my husband Mark helped take down part of the fence, now halfway underwater, while neighbors RC and Callie Ford joined in. By the time we got to the horses the second time, we were hip-deep in what was 'higher ground' only moments earlier. Stopping traffic, we relocated the six horses (four Haflingers, a quarter horse and a saddlebred) to neighbor George and Dale Hoff's backyard, whose home sat much higher. Their five-foot-chain-link-fenced backyard wasn't quite the immense pasture the horses were familiar with, but they were safe.
"The Allens made it home Saturday night and were able to return their horses to pasture, as the water had receded. Once again, however, more rain arrived, and the creek began overflowing Sunday. Neighbors immediately gathered halters and waded through water that had risen to knee-deep by the time we reached the other pasture. The horses seemed to know the drill and easily were led back to George and Dale's backyard.
"I'm so glad to have been a part of such an adventure that had a happy ending. We've since all been by to visit our six equine friends, who are back home and who have become an even bigger part of our lives."
— Tracye Mayolo, Smyrna
"It was the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen. In the matter of a few hours the water went from bad to OMG get out now! My condo and my next-door neighbor's condo were the only two in the development not to have flood damage inside. I went back yesterday and condos were being completely gutted. This whole situation has been scary and completely mind-numbing not knowing what you are going to come home to but you would not believe the way complete strangers have now become family. It has brought us all closer than ever and material things just don't matter anymore.
"P.S. — Never ever thought I would have a boat docked outside my condo!"
— JENNIE TOMLINSON, BELLEVUE
"[Sunday] night at 6:30, two people in a canoe came and got us out. But [officials] gave us no warning whatsoever that they were opening the floodgates. We went from a foot of water to five feet of water in less than an hour. By then, we couldn't go anywhere. [That was at] about 5:30, 6 o'clock. By then, my car was completely buried in water. We got back pretty early this morning and it's just been slowly rising. And they tried to get to my cat and my mom's ashes, but they can't get to the second floor. The first floor is completely underwater.
"My mother had a massive stroke on Oct. 25 at like 9 o' clock in the morning. And they [declared] her brain dead a week later and then she passed on Nov. 5. We were saving her ashes till July 'cause all of our family was going to get together and spread the ashes, but they're in the house.
"My parents bought that house 20 years ago. They had flood insurance, which will cover the house, but nothing inside the house. Everything inside the house is a total loss. The grandfather clock that my dad bought my mom years ago, it's all in the house. I lost everything. Pictures, everything. I was getting ready to move May 29. So everything was in boxes. And everything my son owned was in the garage. And I can't get a hold of my son. That's been another problem.
"They say my shed is completely gone. I've been looking to see if my riding lawnmower will go floating by or anything. ... That's what I think all of us down here keep watching for, to see if any of our personal items go floating by us. ...
"We'll survive. We always survive."
— Shannon Duke, Inglewood
"[On Sunday afternoon] I was out running in errands in my car. We came back to check on the house and parts of this area were flooded. There was about three feet of water on the street. We attempted to move my girlfriend's car. We made it about halfway down the street and it stopped. It wouldn't run anymore. Got out and a bunch of people helped us push it up the hill.
"We left [the house] for good around 5 o'clock. Managed to get some clothes and important items. And even store some electronics stuff up in the higher parts of the house. Fortunately, we're up a lot higher than most of the houses around here. There were people out here in canoes rescuing folks and dogs. We got back this morning and it was still going on so it must have been going on all night long.
"Oh, we just moved into the neighborhood Friday. Warm welcome for us."
—Brad Austin, Inglewood
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