'It’s hard to have hope' Waverly residents search for loved ones

Waverly flood damage august 2021
Posted at 4:34 PM, Aug 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 16:04:57-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF)  — People have been scouring the edges of Trace Creek in Waverly looking for loved ones.

As of Sunday, 18 people have died and Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said up to 50 might still be missing.

Blackhawks have been searching for bodies in the rubble left behind by flooding. In thick brush, volunteers looked for survivors.

Maggie Moran said the community is devastated. "There’s so many people missing right now… and it’s hard to have hope," Moran said.

Her sister’s 15-year-old friend Lilly Bryant is one of them. "There’s so much stuff we can’t even look through to find her, and then when they have someone sent to the hospital, there’s hope that it’s her, and then we go there, and they get let down that it’s not her," Moran said.

Several children were swept away on East Brookside where the homes back up to Trace Creek. Twin babies, Ryan and Rieligh, were ripped from their father’s arms. Their bodies were later recovered.

"You know a lot of people would say why? I don’t understand," Mario Crim said.

Crim said they barely escaped his business. "It was rising about a foot every 30 seconds," Crim said.

Dozens of homes will likely be condemned, but for now, crews continue searching for people who are missing. They’re asking people to avoid the area because traffic is hurting their operations. In addition, several neighborhoods have been blocked off.

"There’s so many people out looking, and you just keep finding more people just laying there, and there’s nothing we can do," Moran said.

After a flood several years ago, residents demanded something is done about the flooding. Now, their worst nightmare has become a reality.

A curfew is has been set for the City of Waverly at 8 p.m.

*Editor's Note: The original death count was reported as 22, but officials in Humphreys County said there was an error in how the way the number of deaths/missing was being tracked. They corrected the number to 18 deaths.