Land: Group forms to help rural Tennessee prepare for increasing floods

A car and other structure were one of many swept up in a flash flood recently, shown Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Waverly, Tenn. Heavy rains caused flooding in Middle Tennessee days ago and have resulted in multiple deaths, and missing people as homes and rural roads were also washed away. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The devastating floods that tore through Waverly and Humphreys County last month shook everyone who followed the coverage. This storm is what every local elected leader fears: a historic, once-in-a-lifetime event that changes the trajectory of the community.

As the former mayor of Dunlap and the president of the Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council, a Chattanooga-based organization made up of a collection of rural and small-town county and city mayors, my heart goes out to Mayor Wallace B. Frazier, County Executive Jessie Wallace and the first responders guiding the recovery efforts.

Tennessee is failing its rural communities when it comes to disaster and flood preparedness. Since 2000, Tennessee has seen a flood on average about every three days, based on an analysis of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency's tracking of flood events taken from the NOAA Storm Events Database.