Interstates flood, Mayor urges residents to stay home

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is urging residents to stay home amid the worst flooding the city has seen in more than three decades.

Many of the area's interstates are underwater and impassible.

In southeast Davidson County, Interstate 24 west of Bell Road was shut down late Saturday afternoon after more than a dozen cars got caught in the floodwaters.

A Tennessee Department of Transportation camera showed the vehicles' occupants on the other side of the interstate median after being forced from their cars and SUVs.

The vehicles in the westbound lanes, heading into Nashville, were literally bobbing up and down in an estimated six feet of water.

A portable building from a local school could be seen floating down the interstate.

At least one person lost their life after being swept away in the flood waters.  The victim's body was recovered downstream from I-24 and Bell Road.

Interstate 24 was closed in Rutherford County near LaVergne, where city leaders shut down the town due to high waters.

In Williamson County, Interstate 40 was shut down at mile marker 180 near Fairview, west of Nashville.  A photo from the scene showed both directions of the interstate underwater.

I-40 was also shut down in Haywood County, in west Tennessee, between exits 56 and 66.

The National Weather Service expects the flash flooding risk to only increase as the rain is expected to continue into Sunday.

River flooding will become a problem and rivers that flood will remain above flood stage into the middle of next week.

The National Weather Service reminds Tennesseans that most flood deaths occur in automobiles.

Never drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway as flood waters are usually deeper than they appear.

The Nashville Fire Department is using 10 boats for rescue operations across the city and police department personnel were working 36 hour shifts.

Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas reiterated the mayor's advice and said residents should just stay home.

“I really want to strongly, strongly, strongly encourage almost direct, reiterate what mayor said, it makes it so much more difficult for police, fire and EMS to do their job when people in the community in these conditions that would be better served staying home,” he said.  “Please just stay home.”

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