Flood

by Zachary Harmuth

A few days ago, Franklin saw some of the heaviest and most prolonged period of heavy rain in some time.

For a lot of people, including William Rahn of South 11th Avenue in Franklin, it brought back memories of the disastrous May 1-2, 2010 flood.

With such strong rain coming so close to the anniversay of the May 2010 flood, that overflowed rivers and streams and set forth flash floods during two straight days of continuous downpour, it’s hard not to think of it.

“We live close to a creek, the Little Harpeth I think it is, which sits sort of at the bottom of a hill,” Rahn said. “I just remember when I got in my car and saw it- I knew I was not driving through it, because it looked like suddenly a lake had formed over the road and bridge that went over it.”

Rahn was hardly exaggerating. The rain and flood that spring was unprecedented and the first of its kind for this area.

The 2 days of constant rain and flooding in Nashville and Franklin (and everywhere in between) broke all kinds of records: It was the most rainfall in 2 days in Nashville history.

Rivers throughout Middle Tennessee reached record high levels, exceeding previous highs by as much as 14 feet. And it broke the record for most rainfall in 6, 12, 24 and 48 hours in the Middle Tennessee area.

The Harpeth River in Franklin peaked at five feet past flood level (flood stage is 30 feet).

The Cumberland River flooded quickly after the weekend’s storms dropped more than 13 inches of rain on Middle Tennessee over two days. That nearly doubled the previous record of 6.68 inches of rain that came on the heels of Hurricane Fredrick in 1979.

Rahn, like a lot of people on that day, was trying to remember the exact wording of his insurance agreement. If the water reached his residence, and flooded it, was he covered? The more he thought about it the more worried he became. He rifled through his desk until he found his policy. But after he read it, he said, he still wasn’t sure. He did not exactly start panicking, in part because he said he felt in denial about the possibility of his home actually flooding, but he started watching the water rise with a new-found uneasiness.

He could move all his valuables out of harm’s way, but what about the carpet, the electric, everything.

Luckily the rising water receded before reaching him, but he made sure to go out and talk to his insurance agent as soon as he could.

“There are more people that should have flood insurance than do,” Morgan Luck, a Farmers Insurance agent, said. “There are a lot of people who were not prepared for [the 2010 flood] and got upset at insurance companies. But it is not always our fault. A lot of times the mortgage company is the one who decides if a home needs flood insurance or not.”

“Let me put it this way: some people that have it do not need it; some that need it do not have it.”

Luck said whether or not you need flood insurance depends on where you live. If you live by a river or some major water source, you need to know if your house is above a certain point. Or if you live in a low-lying area, you need to know if you are in the flood plain.

An agent can come out and give you an estimate if you are unsure, and tell you what your risks are. Flood insurance is not usually a part of home-owners, or renters insurance, and depending on where you live, can cost anywhere from $200-$300 a year to $1,500- $2,000 for high risk areas, Luck said.

Rahn found out that his house had no coverage for floods, so he breathed a huge sigh of relief.

He wondered whether it was worth it to buy flood insurance. After all, the biggest freak flooding of the century happened to have already happened, and he got out unscathed.

He will not say what he did, just that he was not worried over the past few days as the rain poured down and flash flood warnings went up.

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