Tennessee Flooding Events

Grainger County, TN
July 1, 1997
Lauderdale County, TN
Date Unknown
Lawrenceburg, TN
July 1998

Buffalo Springs/Tampico, Grainger County, TN - Flash Flood July 1, 1997
Estimates of 12 hour rainfall range from around 4 inches at an automated rain gage in Luttrell, Tennessee, to over 7 inches in plastic rain gages in nearby Buffalo Springs. Several local residents reported 10 inch metal buckets filled to the top. Most of the rain fell between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. on July 1, 1997.
The photo to the left was taken on July 2, over 28 hours after the rain had stopped. The water had been over the top of this "NO PARKING" sign and damaged it. You can see the water still flooding the small parking area below the falls.
The view from above the falls. For perspective, notice the "NO PARKING" sign from the picture above in the left center.
This is what happens to automobiles that are caught in flash floods. The driver apparently did not see the water covering the road in the early morning darkness, drove into it, and then did the right thing by exiting the vehicle, but the water was too swift and he and his car were carried away. The car was retrieved about a half mile downstream. His body was recovered later in the day two miles downstream. The rescue personnel and search volunteers put their own lives at risk to retrieve their friend and his vehicle.
For perspective, note the man in the background. The best thing is to not drive into water running over roads! The second best thing is too get out of your car immediately if you are caught unexpectedly in running water. A foot of running water can carry away most automobiles. A woman following the man down the hilly road, came upon his abondoned car sitting in water over his tail lights. She had driven into about a foot and a half of running water herself, and quickly left her car when she lost control. Unfortunately, she returned for her purse and and was swept under the car. A third man saw her disappear and ran and pulled her to safety. Her car was found in the Holston River in another county, looking much the same as the car above.


Lauderdale County, TN - Date Unknown - Backwater from Mississippi River

State Route 19 in Lauderdale County, TN

Another view of State Route 19 in Lauderdale County, TN


Lauderdale County, TN -1973 - Backwater from Mississippi River

Hwy 19 and Out Bounds Road

Hwy 19 and Out Bounds Road


Lawrenceburg, TN - July 1998 - Shoal Creek
This is a bridge on Shoal Creek just west of Lawrenceburg, TN. Its a little county route just downstream of US-64. All the drift you see in the picture washed under the US-64 bridge and got caught up on the county bridge. This flood was determined to be approximately a 100 year flood. The water overtopped that bridge by quite a bit. It was 20-30 feet deep during the actual event. But only for a very short duration.
There was a house just upstream that had been moved approximately 2 feet off its foundations. You can see by the washing machine debris that the flow velocity was very high. This branch overtopped US-64 east of Lawrenceberg.
This bridge is Andrew Jackson Highway (US-43) just south of Lawrenceberg. You can see the tremendous amounts of bank erosion. The cones up above were for traffic control due to some debris clearing and repaving on a portion of the bridge. Except for some minor erosion on the approach pavement the bridge was undamaged. It was open to traffic after the water went down. Debris was found in the form of toys, golf clubs, and even a matress was stuck up between the beams on the bottom of the bridge deck. The water was approximatly 30' high.

One man was killed here when his pick-up truck washed over the side. It ended up flipped around with the camper top on the bed wedged into the left span on the bridge upstream side (picture shows the downstream side). It took 2 days to get the truck out of there without damaging the bridge.

Photos and descriptions for Lauderdale Co and Lawrenceburg floods courtesy of
Tennessee Department of Transportation : Structures Division : Hydraulic Design & Permitting Section

If you would like to submit photos and stories of flooding events in the LMRFC area, please send to the Webmaster for review.
Or by mail to:
Kai Roth
62300 Airport Rd
Slidell, LA 70460




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