The dead included two toddlers who were swept away from their father by floodwaters, authorities said, according to WZTV-TV of Nashville.
Various other people have been hospitalized for assorted reasons, Sheriff Chris Davis told reporters, FOX 17 of Nashville reported.
Rescue efforts were expected to continue overnight, Davis said, according to WKRN-TV of Nashville. One couple was rescued from their attic by a crew using a bulldozer, according to WZTV.
“People are trapped in their homes and have no way to get out,” Krissy Hurley, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Nashville, told The Tennessean newspaper. “Water is up to their necks. It is catastrophic – the worst kind of situation.”
“People are trapped in their homes and have no way to get out. Water is up to their necks. It is catastrophic – the worst kind of situation.”
— Krissy Hurley, National Weather Service meteorologist
Waverly, the seat of Humphreys County, is about 75 miles west of Nashville.
Catastrophic flooding is seen in this aerial image from Waverly, Tennessee, Aug. 21, 2021. (Nashville Fire Department)
In nearby Hickman County, the Piney River was measured at 32 feet on Saturday, breaking a 2019 record by nearly 12 feet, the newspaper reported.
More than 15 inches of rain fell in the area of McEwen, Humphreys County, with more rain expected into the night, forecasters said. A flash flood warning was effect until 11 p.m. Saturday, FOX 17 reported.
Authorities established a meeting area at McEwen Middle School’s gymnasium for anyone trying to reunite with family members. It was open until 10 p.m. Saturday then was scheduled to be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, according to FOX 17.
Other shelters were established in Waverly, Dickson and Centreville, The Tennessean reported.
Earlier, around 5 p.m., about 3,500 utility customers were believed to be without power, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the station reported.
An 8 p.m. curfew was in effect in the city of Waverly, the report added.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said it had two aircraft patrolling the region, WKRN reported.