Nashville Flood Warnings & The Opryland Hotel Flooded by:Timmy Vic
Parts of downtown Nashville were evacuated Sunday night as floodwaters from the nearbyCumberland River threatened to inundate the city's main tourism district.
The flooding was caused by a series of weekend thunderstorms that brought record rainfall and lead to the deaths of at least 19 people in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.
Nashville authorities shut down restaurants and bars around midnight as levees overflowed and water spilled into downtown streets near the riverfront.
Waters also blanketed a parking lot belonging to LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. The stadium has yet to be affected by water damage.
The popular Opryland Resort & Convention Center, which is the largest non-gaming hotel property in the United States, was in the most danger last night. The hotel complex sits adjacent to the Cumberland River.
As a precaution, about 1,500 hotel guests of the hotel were evacuated at midnight and moved to local high school.
Nashville Fire Dept. Chief Charles Shannon has reported that the hotel sustained only minor water damage, but surrounding parking lots remain flooded. Water surrounded the Grand Ole Opry House and the Opry Mills shopping mall as well.
Gaylord Entertainment, the company that owns the Opryland Hotel, says the hotel will probably be closed for several months.
However, the historic Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, has been reported to be in no immediate danger.
Though Nashville is protected by FEMA-approved levees, the amount of rainfall experienced in the last 48 hours swelled the Cumberland to levels beyond the 100-year flood standard.
In two days, more than 13 inches of rain fell on the city, which is double the previous record of 6.68 inches of rain that fell during Hurricane Fredrick in 1979.
The rainfall and flooding has put a damper on travel in and out of the region.
More than 150 roads were closed in middle Tennessee on Sunday, and most downtown roads remain closed on Monday.
Rainfall has also shut down three major interstates in the Nashville area over the weekend. Interstate 40, which runs horizontally through the state, is covered with standing water that is stranding drivers.
Service at Nashville International Airport has also been disrupted, officials said. Additionally, in the state's fifth-largest city, Clarksville, TN, flooding has also been reported.
The series of storms continues to pound the South today, moving through north Georgia, causing flooding in the streets of Atlanta and delaying flights into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. For more information, visit petergreenberg.
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