Friday, May 7, 2010

Flooding in Kentucky & Tennessee

The rain started around 3 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, 2010. At times, the rain was so heavy you literally couldn't see ten feet in front of you. The storms were severe and brought with them tornadoes and flooding rains. Flood watches and warnings and tornado watches and warnings were in effect pretty much 24/7 until the rains finally stopped. In some areas, the flood watches and warnings are still in effect. The waters rose so fast they caught people off guard even though they were fully aware of how serious the situation could become.

Kind of sounds like the opening to an old pulp novel, doesn't it? But that wasn't fiction. The southern United States saw extremely severe rain and flooding conditions beginning on May 1, 2010. The states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi were the hardest hit. Of the three, Tennessee suffered the most.

For days after the storm ended the capitol city of Tennessee, Nashville, was fighting flood waters of the likes that were either never-before-seen or hasn't been seen in decades. Even as you read this, there are parts of the Music City that are still under water. The storms took at least thirty lives with them and left thousands either homeless or in dire straits. The heavy rains even drenched the Kentucky Derby this year.

I've done several posts on various things around Kentucky before and I no doubt will be talking about Kentucky more in the future. Kentucky has its problems: way too many bugs (ticks!!!) and the summers can be very hot and miserable. But despite the bloodsuckers and July days that make you feel like you're in a pottery oven Kentucky is a gorgeous state. The winters are usually mild, the scenery is breathtaking in most parts of the state, there is virtually every kind of wildlife you would ever want to have the privilege of getting to see, the people are generally very easy to get along with and it's actually a very inexpensive place to live. The neighboring state of Tennessee isn't much different.

I've lived in the state of Kentucky for twenty-eight years now and I've made frequent trips to Tennessee. I've been here long enough and seen enough to know what is normal for both states and what isn't. Trust me, "normal" isn't exactly the right word to use now, especially in Tennessee.

In Western Tennessee there is a beautiful state park called Paris Landing State Park. It is an 841 acre park named for a steamboat and freight landing on the Tennessee River that dates back to the mid 1800's. It borders both Kentucky Lake and the Tennessee River. The park has a lodge, marina and a very large picnic area as well as tennis courts, a golf course, playgrounds and several rangers stations. The park hosts an annual professional crappie and bass fishing tournament that fishermen from all over the world travel to attend. A state highway goes through the park and is connected to a one-mile long bridge that crosses the Tennessee River linking the park proper to another section known as "Grays Landing" then on to the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. More than anything, Paris Landing is a beautiful and relaxing place to spend your free time.

Later tonight or tomorrow I will be posting some flood photographs I took on May 7, 2010 at Paris Landing State Park and of the Tennessee River. Photographs can never truly do justice to the flooding situation in Tennessee. It truly is something you must see to believe. To anyone unfamiliar with the area it may just look like a lot of water. But for those who visit these areas on a regular basis and live there it's something many of them have never seen in their lives before. It has taken them by surprise. And as the waters appear to get a bit higher every day due to water being released from area dams and from run-off they still are in disbelief that this has happened here, to them. And to the people in Nashville, it's their whole lives, everything they've worked for, gone in the blink of an eye.

Where I live, I saw flooding but I didn't see it as severely as did the people of Tennessee and especially Nashville. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones or everything they've worked hard their entire lives for. The "Unbridled Spirit" of Kentucky will get the residents through this disaster the same way it did the ice storm in 2009. Those in the "Volunteer State" of Tennessee will pull together to help their neighbors through this truly disastrous time. In a few weeks time the water will be gone and the debris cleaned up but this is something the locals will be talking about for years to come and even telling their grandchildren about.

For more information (including flood information) on both the states of Tennessee and Kentucky visit their official web sites:

The State of Tennessee

The State of Kentucky

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