What led to the sudden rise of water at Cummins Falls?

(Photo: Submitted)

JACKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Several rounds of showers and thunderstorms rolled across Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, some with very heavy downpours.

The storms led to creeks and streams rising suddenly in both Putnam and Smith counties.

News 2 spoke with Larry Vannozzi with the National Weather Service about what led to that sudden rise at Cummins Falls State Park, where dozens of people became trapped.

“I think what happens there, especially yesterday, we had some heavy rains but nothing out of the norm, half inch to an inch of rain from thunderstorms that swept through the area, but it looks like somewhat heavy rains fell a little further upstream in Cookeville and washed toward the park and helped cause that problem,” he explained.

It wasn’t even raining over the falls when the water rose so quickly, about three feet in three minutes, but it was pouring upstream on the Blackburn Fork River.

For anyone going out to rivers and streams this summer, Vannozzi has some tips.

“I would say definitely stay in tune with the latest forecast. Yesterday, we had a high chance of showers and storms. I think just pay attention, cause this time of year you can get very heavy rains, and as we saw yesterday, heavy rains and as we saw yesterday, heavy rains even not quite at your location, can cause some flooding, so definitely stay in tune to what the latest forecast is,” he said.