(Reuters) – At least 21 people have died and 50 others are reported missing after heavy flooding hit parts of Tennessee, authorities said on Sunday.
A dispatcher at the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the number of those killed and missing and said authorities were working to conduct house-to-house searches of the area.
Record rainfall of up to 17 inches (43 cm) in some areas sparked massive flooding on Saturday afternoon and evening. Especially hard hit was the town of Waverly, about 55 miles (88 km) west of Nashville. Hundreds of homes were left uninhabitable.
Waverly Mayor Wallace Frazier told the Tennessean newspaper that those killed in flooding ranged in age from babies to the elderly. The Washington Post, citing family members, reported that 7-month-old twins died after they were swept away from their parents’ arms.
The flooding uprooted massive trees, tore through homes and tossed cars and pickup trucks into ditches and atop sheds and other structures.
Cindy Dunn, 48, told the Tennessean that she and her husband had been stranded in their attic for several hours after floodwaters rose to 6 feet (1.8 m) high in their home. The pair were saved by a rescue crew that raised the bucket of a bulldozer up to a window they could get through.
“Hell. That’s what we had to go through,” Dunn told the newspaper.
(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Peter Cooney)