NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been almost one year since the terrible flood in Waverly and Humphreys County.
After the flood, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a hydrological study of Trace Creek, with the hopes of coming up with solutions on how to mitigate flooding in the future. The full study will take 18-24 months, but the Corps is releasing preliminary results.
They emphasize that it’s going to take time to develop and implement engineering solutions to mitigate flooding. Meanwhile, they want to make sure emergency managers have the information and tools they need when flooding is a threat. They are developing map books that show how different rainfall amounts will impact homes, public facilities, and bridges that officials can use to plan evacuation zones.
Lt. Col. Joe Sahl, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commander of the Nashville District, explained the process.
“What it basically shows you is the different colors for the different amounts of rainfall,” Lt. Col. Sahl said. “And so, as you are planning your emergency response, as we finalize this and get it more detailed, you can start seeing where different levels of different forecasts will impact different structures, homes, public facilities, bridges, and use this to plan your initial evacuation zones.”
“That’s the different color codes. So, in blue you will see light blue is 7″, dark blue is 4″, mainly staying within the creek channel. As you get 7″ it starts inundating other areas, and then all the way to the purple which is the event from last year in August 2021.”
And there are plans to install gauges upstream on the creek that will remotely warn of high levels and impending flooding.
“These gauges, especially precip gauges which are more cost-efficient than stream gauges, if we can put those and link them, provide an uplink to those where you can go and view those as a general public or first responder, that makes you comfortable in knowing that you have to leave or that the forecast is accurate,” Lt. Col. Sahl explained.”
And the biggest issue Waverly residents are concerned about is cleaning debris out of Trace Creek.
During the flood, debris clogged the railroad bridge over the creek that backed up a lake of an estimated 48 million gallons of water.
It then breached the bed of the railroad tracks, sending a tsunami-like surge of water through Waverly. Lt. Col. Sahl says that is part of the study.
“Pretty much anything that is restricting the flow of water, whether it’s natural topography or something that’s man-made and designed and put in place, the study looks at how the water moves through the system,” Lt. Col. Sahl pointed out. “And so, if there are impediments to how the water is moving, that will come out in the study.”
The Corps is meeting monthly with the Waverly Flood Task Force to give updates.