WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — City leaders in Waverly are making preparations for the weather that lies ahead, while the community is still reeling from the devastation of the August flood that claimed 20 lives.
Anytime it rains residents can’t help but fear the worst.
“I don’t sleep at night when it rains really hard at night. Just laying there staring at the ceiling wondering if your business is flooding when you are trying to get it reopened from the last flood,” co-owner of the Waverly Cash Saver John Curtis explained.
His business was among many wiped out in August during the deadly flash floods. Employees found themselves trapped for some five hours on top of an office as the store filled with water.
“As difficult as it was for those employees to stay in this store that was probably the safest thing that they could have done,” he said.
It’s been a nonstop effort since August to reopen and serve the community, while the root of their problem remains of great concern.
“There’s more debris in the creek than had been in the creek the last three floods. There’s houses, there’s homes, there’s cars, vehicles, all kinds of debris in the creek. We’ve done a lot of cleanup in the community, but the creek is still untouched,” Curtis explained.
The littered waterways serve as a constant threat to the still-devastated community.
“I think we’ve got a responsibility to our environment, but in trying to keep equipment out of the creek and things like that we’ve allowed hundreds if not thousands of cars, tractors, lawnmowers, and all kinds of items to be distributed throughout this creek.”
The city mayor said regulations from state and federal partners keep them out of the waterways, but residents and businesses owners like Curtis are tired of standing by.
“The debris that’s been scattered through this creek from this last flood is way more than we would have ever put in as far as contaminating by cleaning the creeks out and maintaining the creeks. So I think at some point in time we’ve got to stop taking no for an answer.”
As weather moves in the community is left feeling helpless.
“About all we can do is hope and pray,” he shrugged.
For more than 100 days Curtis said his focus has been on reopening the grocery store, which he hopes to do next week. His focus will then shift to getting the creek cleaned out.