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Nashville OEM, Metro Water and Army Corps of Engineers Prepared for Weekend Weather

Joseph Pleasant; Public Information Officer

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2018

For further information contact:
Joseph Pleasant
Public Information Officer                                          Phone: 615-948-4923
Joseph.Pleasant@Nashville.Gov                              Fax: 615-862-5463

Much of Middle Tennessee remains under a Flood Watch ahead of 2 – 6 inches of expected rain

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 22, 2018) – The Nashville Office of Emergency Management is coordinating with the US Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, Metro Water Services, Metro Police and the Mayor’s Office to monitor expected rainfall and its impact on rivers and tributaries in the area.

OEM met with members of each organization Wednesday to discuss the expected rainfall and formulate a plan to handle any flooding that may occur.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has released water from the Percy Priest Dam in order to make room for the expected rainfall. This will result in higher than normal water levels and a faster current, but it will be closely monitored by local and federal officials and is not anticipated to impact Nashville area residents.

The Flood Advisory continues for both the Stones River near Donelson and the Cumberland River. Both rivers remain above action stage due to water releases from Percy Priest Dam and ongoing rainfall.

Action stage is when the water surface is generally near or slightly above the top of its banks, but no man-made structures are flooded; typically any water overflowing is limited to small areas.

Right now the Cumberland River is at around 31 feet. That is nine feet below flood stage for the Cumberland River.

Flood stage means the river is at a level where water is high enough to cause sufficient inundation of areas that are not normally covered by water, causing an inconvenience or a threat to life and/or property.

At this point there is no concern about the river reaching flood stage. The weekend forecast is very dependent on how much rain falls Saturday and Sunday.

Stay tuned to NOAA weather radios or other local media for further information from the National Weather Service.

“Nashville has learned a great deal from the flood of 2010, and we are more cautious than ever when it comes to heavy rainfall that has the potential to cause flooding,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “We are carefully monitoring this situation and working closely with local, state, and federal officials to ensure that Nashville’s residents are safe. While we have no reason to anticipate dangerous flooding, I would urge all citizens to use caution if encountering high water and remember to turn around, don’t drown.”

We have asked the Corps to stay in regular contact with the highest levels of Metro government

Metro Water Services has been proactive by having personnel conduct storm drain assessments. Crews have been out clearing debris from storm drains in order to prevent flooding as well as ponding on roadways in known trouble areas.

Isolated flooding is typically caused by trash and debris blocking storm drains and inlets. Metro Water Services crews have specific problem areas we call “rain routes” that we check prior to storms.  We also revisit prior flood areas in districts.

We currently have 10 two-man crews strictly working rain routes and districts. We also have a full four-man truck crew addressing areas of concern from the weekend rains and responding to calls. 

We often deal with situations where continued rain will push additional trash and debris into the storm drain or inlet after crews have cleared it, causing it to block again.  

Nashville residents can help prevent blockages and potential isolated flooding by being responsible and properly disposing of litter and yard debris.  Checking nearby storm drains prior to rain events and removing any trash or debris on the grate will help storm water flow properly.

After hours and throughout the weekend, four crews will be kept on staff to clear known debris and respond to calls.  Additional crews will be called in, if necessary.

Residents are asked to call 615-862-4600 if they see roadway ponding or experience flooding.

We encourage all Nashville residents to know their flood hazard risks, monitor the situation and take proper flood safety precautions. More information is available on the website at

In the event flooding becomes more of an issue than expected, Public Works and Metro Police are ready to block off roadways or areas of concerns.

If the need arises for any type of evacuations or water rescues, we have both Fire Department and OEM Swift Teams readily available to respond.

Also, Saturday night there is a slight risk of severe weather that could include strong damaging winds and spin-up tornadoes.

“There is still some uncertainty with the forecast models at this time, we will know more in the next couple of days,” Nashville Office of Emergency Management Director Chief Will Swann said. “There is a possibility that partial activation of the Emergency Operations Center will be needed for Saturday.  I have notified the necessary people to be prepared.”

In the event of a partial activation, residents can stay informed through the NERVE system.

The site will provide information about road closures, evacuation areas or routes, shelters and relief centers. Use this site to see what is happening around you or to find a path to your destination that avoids closed roads or other obstructions.

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