WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — There are a lot of questions in Humphreys County following the catastrophic flooding that claimed 20 lives as to how a disaster like this could happen.
Sheriff Chris Davis raised concerns as he took News 2 on a driving tour of the path that he came through Saturday morning.
“Why do we keep having this over and over and over,” the sheriff questioned.
It’s the third flood since 2010 that he can recall.
“We’ve got to address it. This is a loss of 20 lives is not acceptable, it’s not acceptable,” said Sheriff Davis.
As he drove on Highway 70 Saturday morning just west of Deal Lane and east of the main channel of Trace Creek, what he witnessed he said was “unusual.”
“I’m like, ‘why is the water rushing here?’” he said, explaining he’s seen it flood in other areas before, but not there.
Cars were washed off the highway. The water was some four feet high, over the hood of his Tahoe and racing through homes.
“I remember sections of the railroad tracks right here suspended in the air with nothing underneath them,” he explained.
Homes were destroyed in one area, while buildings just feet away he said were barely impacted.
“I have to make the assumption when I’m seeing tracks suspended in the air, I’m seeing holes, different holes down through here that something had to have this area down here backed up. The dike, the dike got clogged.”
Residents describing it as a wall of water, violently rushing into homes and businesses. Business owners and residents telling News 2 that the creek beds needed to be cleaned, a cry for help they say they’ve made before that went unanswered.
Sheriff Davis said local officials have made calls for help as well over the years with resistance, and he doesn’t want his community to ever witness another sight like this.
“I just feel like we are overlooked, engineering wise. I don’t know if it’s because we are country, or because we are smaller, but I feel like we are overlooked engineering wise because this shouldn’t happen. This kind of stuff shouldn’t happen,” he shook his head.
Sheriff Davis said there have been efforts made on the local level to prevent a tragedy like this from happening and that they need help and aid likely from the national level to prevent another disaster like this from happening.
He added that he feels confident that Governor Bill Lee, who toured the area Wednesday, hears their needs, and will assist.