Families evacuate river bank homes ahead of possible flooding

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Along the Cumberland River, Cheatham County families are evacuating as the forecast takes a turn toward severe. 

Thursday was a moving day of sorts for Tawnya Wojciechowski and her husband. The couple is temporarily moving in with a friend while moving their belongings inside their home built on stilts. 

“It’s 15’2″ off the ground,” explained Tawnya. “So this will be the first test.”

The home was built after the flood of 2010 when the Cumberland River crested over 410 feet. 

Now the water is rising again, and the river is expected to creep near 400 feet Sunday. 

“So if you can’t get out, you’re stuck,” said Tawnya. “We’ve heard that some people in 2010 had to be rescued by boat.”

Hoping to avoid similar rescues, county officials warned Tawnya and several more neighbors days ahead of the impending danger. 

“We’re letting them know that the rain’s coming,” said Edwin Hogan, director of the county Emergency Management Agency. “They need to make preparations to get out of the area, and stay out till the water recedes.”

This allowed many families time to pack up, while others decided to hunker down. 

Billy Wheeler and his wife will be staying home this weekend, preparing to go without electricity if the water gets too high. 

“I’m sure [electricity] will be cut off. I’ve got a bunch of blankets up in the house,” he explained. “We’ve got everything prepared for this time.”

Emergency crews will be ready around the clock in Cheatham County. 

Water rescue teams though, hopefully, will not be returning to Billy and Tawnya’s block, while on standby for emergencies. 

“Putting a boat in the water is a very risky situation during a flood,” said Edwin. “Unless it’s an absolute emergency, we’re giving them plenty of time to get out now.”

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