NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers admitted its mistakes and weaknesses during the historic flood in early May in a 292-page report released Wednesday.
The after-action report points to one clear problem that repeated itself during the event, communication.
A lack of communication, miscommunication and failure to communicate plagued the agency on May 1 and May 2, according to the report.
The Corps said part of the problem was a lack of understanding of technical jargon between the Corps, National Weather Service and other agencies.
“Technical communication and lack of understanding of each agency's operations played a large role in this misunderstanding,” the report read.
There were also internal communications issues that led to a failure to recognize the severity of the situation.
“During this flood event, an advance email from [the Corps Nashville District] regarding increases in the flood forecast did not receive immediate attention by [staff at the Corps Regional District in Ohio], resulting in slower communication regarding the potential severity of the flood,” the report stated.
The timing of the event also played a huge role in delays in getting people in place and information forwarded.
“Since the event occurred on a weekend, combined with major flooding in the area, minimal staff was on hand to provide assistance such as answering phones,” the report read. “The flood directly impacted staff members directly who experienced great obstacles in travel around the city. As a result, the available staff divided time between regular duties and answering public inquiries.”
The Corps said the after-action report is a draft and the first step in fulfilling the Corps commitment to provide continuous improvement, transparency and accountability.
The May flood left nearly two dozen people dead and caused millions of dollars in damage.
A press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday. Corps officials will be on hand to answer questions about the report.
Click here to view the complete, 292-page report.
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