Highwater Risin’ in Middle Tennessee

In the last 48 hours, we have had 10–15″ of rain in and around Nashville, Tennessee. I have lived here for 26 years and have never seen rain or a flood like this. It was eerie last night to watch National Guard trucks roll by in front of our house with soldiers in full camouflage and helmets.

Here are just a few quick facts:

  • The park where I normally run, was turned into a lake.
  • All the roads in and out of Franklin, where I live, were closed.
  • The mayor of Nashville has declared a state of emergency. The governor is attempting to get Nashville declared a federal disaster area.
  • The Cumberland River, which winds through downtown Nashville, rose more than 50 feet—a record. As I am writing this, First and Second Avenue are under water.
  • Thousands of homes, basements, and cars are filled with water.
  • Entire neighborhoods are still submerged, leaving thousands displaced. Thousands more are without power.
  • So far, eleven people have died.

Yesterday morning, I spoke with a friend of mine, Andy Reese, who happens to be a flood engineer. He said that this is the worst flood in Franklin in more than 500 years. (They have written records of the biggest flood in the last years. They have geological data going back more than 500 years.)

Thankfully, Gail and I experienced little damage. We had an inch of water in the basement and a leaky roof in one spot that created some sheetrock damage upstairs.

However, my sister and her family weren’t so fortunate. They had a foot or so of water in the first floor. It destroyed their flooring and some of the sheetrock. In fact, we are headed to their home shortly to help. (The roads just opened here, so we can drive through.)

We also closed Thomas Nelson today. As far as I know, we didn’t have any water damage at our corporate headquarters or at our warehouse. However, we were concerned that our employees could not get into work. More importantly, we want them to be free to deal with their own issues or help out with their family, friends, and neighbors.

My blogging may be a little irregular this week. I would be grateful for your prayers as our community deals with the aftermath of this storm.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patalexander PatAlexander

    Mike, I want to tell you how comforting it was yesterday evening to hear new from your tweets, pics & videos as well as those of others in Franklin. It let us that have friends and acquaintances there know everyone was safe and see what was actually happening. This is a great example of how social media can keep people in touch and involved. I saw tweets organizing clean up and fund raising events before the flooding was over yesterday. Just AWESOME.

  • Blair

    I was following your tweets yesterday from Canada. I have friends in the area and found out they had missed the brunt of the flooding although they still had about an inch of water in their basement. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those that are affected by this and we hope that the water dissipates quickly.


  • http://nichollsleadershipinstitute.com Kathy Nicholls

    All of the folks there are in my prayers and thoughts today. I followed your tweets all day yesterday looking for updates. Stay safe and will pray for this to be over for everyone soon.

  • http://refreshmoments.com Mary Hampton

    I have such respect for you closing the company under the circumstances. True leadership. I experienced the opposite years ago when our community flooded; I know how rare it is.

    My prayers for your staff and my friends in TN.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mattedmundson Matt Edmundson

    On the case…praying…

  • http://www.facebook.com/TimothyFish Timothy Fish

    I can understand what you guys are going through. I was on a team that worked to keep water out of a manufactoring facility during one of the big flood years for the Mississippi. I see all of this and it brings back memories. I can't think of any natural disaster that is any worse than flooding when you consider the emotional stress as the waters rise and the cleanup that follows, along with everything else.

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    We experienced similar record flooding here in N. Georgia last year. I'll keep you, your sister and others in that area in my prayers.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mitchebie Mitch Ebie

    I also live in Nashville, and fortunately I live on a hill, but very close to my hill is flooding and cars on the side of the road. This morning I saw the devastation at Opry Land…catastrophic! I am reminded that we can only put our hope in one thing and that is not sand bags. God is the only foundation that we can truly build on that will never wash away.

  • http://www.OneChristianNation.com frank chimento

    Feel free to pass along this information if you feel it will have Nashvillians recover from the storm damage.

  • Jude Boudreaux

    Michael, please know that we here in New Orleans know what you are going through. If you or anybody you know needs to talk to others who have had flooded homes about mold remidiation, drywall removal, etc. please just let me know.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Jude, thanks for the offer. I got an education yesterday myself, working on my sisters house. I was in charge of removing drywall above the baseboards, so the walls could dry.

  • http://twitter.com/CelinAlexiuk @CelinAlexiuk

    You have our prayers and thoughts. It is a testament to how much you care, closing the office and taking the pressure of employees, allowing them to deal with this event. Best wishes and many blessings as you get through this.

  • http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com misty gilbert

    everyone in that area is in my prayers!

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

    Praying for high spirits, rising hope and ebbing waters in Middle Tennessee today…

    All's grace…
    Ann Voskamp

  • Nathan

    Praying for you all! Thanks for keeping us all updated.

  • Beth Ryan

    Mike, thank you for leading not only to close Thomas Nelson but allowing our amazing employees to serve those in need. Although I have been with Thomas Nelson for 29 years and I have seen the heart and impact of many of the employees, today was a day that brought me to my knees. My sister's house flooded yesterday. So with the email that went to employees last night asking abt needs, I responded and this morning at my mom & sister's house over 17 co-workers showed up to help. It was quite overwhelming… literally I went in my sister's and said "the calvary is here" and they really were. Thanks all of you!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Your story is awesome, Beth. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  • http://www.holyapostlesbg.org/ Jeanette

    We will pray for all you Nashville folks, and we'd appreciate your prayers for us in Bowling Green as well. We're part of Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission, and our building got several inches of flooding. All the icons, books, vestments, and such things have been taken out and are currently sitting in boxes in my spare bedroom. The flood water appears to have come out of the sewers, and has therefore contaminated everything. We may need to find a new place.

    On another topic, we use your podcast often in our weekday Bible study. It has been so helpful, and we all really enjoy it. Thanks for your teaching. And thanks to all of you at St Ignatius for allowing us to borrow Fr Bob so often. He has been a true blessing to all of us.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome on all accounts. I so appreciate your encouragement and prayers.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jalc6927 jalc6927

    We'll be praying for you. Our family experienced a similar tragedy in Houston two years ago.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    I bet Columbus seems so far in the past, doesn't it? My heart goes out to those who have lost so much with no apparent way to replace anything. Trouble does appear to be multiplying at a frantic rate in our world. I'm praying that God will sustain all who are affected by this round of tribulation with His love and His joy. Also, I'm asking God to deepen the faith of those who already believe and to quicken those who don't of their need for His love. God's love is greater than all the destruction evil brings into our lives. I'm praying that we all may really understand the power of His love and that we all may manifest that love in our troubled world.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Prayers indeed.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/SwitchNGranny Martha Garrett


    You and Gail have allowed us to remain knowledgeably in prayer. What amazing power our Lord has shown during these past couple of days right here in the midwest. I'm learning that there is NOTHING we can take for granted beyond the stedfast love of the Lord.

    Thank you so much for sharing this overwhelming event with us.


  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/reflectingpurity reflectingpurity

    Praying for you guys!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/petereleazar petereleazar

    I read a weather report that indicated that it could have been higher than 13 inches. Nonetheless, this is really a major event – 500 years, wow, that is really an astonishing record. The global climate is bringing more and more of these freakish weather phenomena. Anyway, we hope and pray you will all recover, but who knows what good will come as you all stand together in this – God works all things for good to them that love God and are called to His purpose. I really do sense He will use you, your family and TNP in this.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Thanks to each of you for your expressions of concern and for your prayers. We still have a log way to go, but the community spirit has been fantastic. Please continue to pray, especially for those families which have experienced devastating loss and for the emergency workers who are surely worn out by now.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    Michael, your latest re-tweet picture of downtown Nashville tells it all. In California, we have earthquakes, fires, and mudslides, but nothing like this. You are definitely in our prayers. If there is anything we can do or send , let us know.

  • http://thegrablegroup.com Tim Grable

    The cleanup is going to take time and money. I have set up a page that lists several ways you can help Nashville/Franklin. Please go to http://thegrablegroup.com/videos/nashville-flood/ and make a donation to one of the organizations. I will continue to add ways you can help.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jmuela jmuela

    Will be praying for you and the team.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MarkYoungBooks MarkYoungBooks

    Strange weather all over the country. Yesterday, we had hail, rain, heavy winds, and an intense dust storm. Just finished reading Athol DIckson's River Rising, then saw what was happening in your area. We–in the Pacific northwest–be praying for you folks back east. Right now, you have it tougher.

  • http://www.dolcemusica.blogspot.com Johanna Draper

    This is incredible in a not so funny way. I live in the Hickman County area, and we have received severe flooding as well. We are very fortunate to live atop a hill, but people all around us have not been so fortunate. A restaurant by the river just past the Centerville square was up to the roof in water. The pasture at the bottom of the hill we live on turned to a raging rushing river well over my head, and some friends have had to gut their house, as their entire property was under several feet of water including their house.

    I've been looking at pictures of the flooding in Nashville. My heart goes out to all those people who's homes where destroyed.

  • Bonnie Holley

    We will pray for you all. I have a lot of family in Franklin and Nashville and fortunately all are well. We feel your pain as those of us in Atlanta went through similar circumstances in September, no fun. Hang in there!

  • http://www.faithimagined.com alisa

    Praying for national relief and for the many people affected by the floods, especially your sister! Thanks for letting us know about what is going on.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/lind5 lind5

    Prayers are with you and your family Michael.

  • http://www.rohn.me Rohn Gibson

    Praying that the immediate needs are met and for the road to recovery ahead.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Peter G

    So is our crazy weather a consequence of man's actions, the result of a natural climate cycle, or a little of both?

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jde22 jde22

    Wow! It's crazy seeing those shoots of the Harpeth River, especially right there at Sonic. My family has lived in Franklin since the 70's (and in Middle TN since, well forever I think). My grandparents said they cannot ever remember the water being as high as it now. Thanks for sharing this. Listening to their report over the phone, I knew that it was bad, but thankfully they are all okay with no damage at their houses. Ya'll will continue to be in our prayers.

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  • http://www.hrmarketer.com Heath Davis Havlick

    So sorry to hear of your troubles in that area. Prayers all around.

    • http://www.buildyour-ownhome.com Bob Jade

      I read a weather report that indicated that it could have been higher than 13 inches. Nonetheless, this is really a major event – 500 years, wow, that is really an astonishing record. The global climate is bringing more and more of these freakish weather phenomena. Anyway, we hope and pray you will all recover, but who knows what good will come as you all stand together in this – God works all things for good to them that love God and are called to His purpose. I really do sense He will use you, your family and TNP in this.

  • Guest

    this wouldn’t have happened if Basil Marceux won as the governor!!!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You mean BasilMarceux.com, which is what he called himself!

  • http://bmpinc.com/ Emerson Paynode

    It’s been a year since this terrible flood happened. I hope you guys are okay now. I hate these terrible hurricanes and storms. To make matters worse, you’d have to clean that all up while grieving. I hope, this time, you guys are ready if anything like this happens again. Check your anti-flooding drainage, plan on what to do in case a storm comes, and last – but not the least – pray that these kinds of stuff never happens at all.