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Former Mayor Karl Dean reflects on recovery in May 2010 after Nashville floods again

hermitage flooding
Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 10:09:48-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Over the weekend, Nashville received more rain in two days than it typically does in one month. In May 2010, the same thing happened.

"This sort of rain that comes out of no where, it makes the situation difficult," said Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville.

Karl Dean served as mayor when more than 13 inches of rain fell May 1 into May 2, 2010.

Thousands of buildings were damaged including Opryland Hotel, Opry Mills and Nissan Stadium. Neighborhoods like Antioch, Bellevue and downtown Nashville required millions in dollars in repairs.

"There was over 10,000 homes affected by the flood of 2010. Helping people clean out their homes was called 'de-mucking' them. Getting all the muddy stuff out and rotten drywall and carpet ... that's where the volunteers were so key. Getting rid of all the debris and making sure people were safe," Dean said.

Like in 2010, the former mayor expects nonprofits and volunteers will play a huge role in this recovery. Several community leaders at that time are still in the same positions.

"Metro employees, emergency response people, people in non-profits knew what to do and they immediately began doing it. You had to make decisions, but a lot of things were taken care of because they were ready and trained," Dean said.

According to Dean, recovering from Nashville's worst flooding disaster in recorded history has put the city in a position to weather more disasters, like the recent rainstorm.

"I think we look at different ways of doing warnings. There was an issue around communication between different government levels, whether it's the Corps of Engineers and others that I think there were vast improvements in, and you have to look for improvements in infrastructure, which is a long-term continuing investment for the city," he said.

Dean said he is sure Nashville leaders will make the right decisions when it comes to recovery.

"This is not going to be resolved in a couple of weeks. A lot of people will be helped a lot in the next couple of weeks, but there will still be other issues and there will be people in Nashville working on and caring about it, I'm confident of that," he said.

Nashville is under a local state of emergency. Mayor John Cooper is seeking federal and state aid to help flooded areas recuperate.