The Flood Ready Tennessee coalition closes out this Severe Weather Week with a call for action to see state officials create a statewide flood resiliency plan to save Tennessee lives and properties, per a release. 

This week's rainfall is a prime example of why we must address flooding across the state by demanding a comprehensive, statewide flood resiliency plan,” said Amanda Maples, Waverly flood survivor. 

Tennessee is uniquely unprepared to deal with the toll floods take on both our infrastructure and lives. We will be better able to serve our citizens, protecting their communities and properties, by having a plan in place for a responsible, common-sense approach to address flood threats. 

The release says floods have affected every corner of Tennessee this week, from Jackson to Columbia to Chattanooga. Footage from news coverage shows roads and bridges submerged by rivers and creeks that have broken their banks, vehicles abandoned by drivers seeking safety from flash floods and schools closing to avoid the encroaching water.  

State officials have the opportunity to support legislation currently before the Tennessee General Assembly that will create a task force with experts from state agencies like the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Transportation, and Environment and Conservation among others. This group’s sole objective will be to create a statewide plan to address the threat of floods so communities can access the resources they need to be prepared,” said Dwain Land, President of the Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council and former Mayor of Dunlap.

“The solution can’t be to simply rebuild the same bridges that wash out with every flood at taxpayer expense. The solution can’t be to expect small municipalities with limited resources to have the expertise needed to create a resiliency plan and navigate bureaucratic red tape to obtain funding for these projects. The solution can’t be to continue doing what we have and hope for the best. Tennesseans in the path of flood waters don’t have the luxury of time – we need action now.”  

Floods cost Tennessee on average $243 million every year, according to a 2020 TACIR report. However, it is far less expensive to prevent damage than it is to recover from it, with every dollar invested in resilience resulting in up to $12 savings, per the release. 

From 2000-2020, there have been 2,825 flood events in Tennessee – an average of one flood event every three days. 

Currently, nearly 400,000 properties across the state are at risk of severe or extreme flooding like the devastation seen in Waverly in August 2021.