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The impact of the flooding on the Waverly area of Tennessee. Photo: Hardin County Fire Department, Savannah Tennessee/Facebook

Severe flooding in parts of middle Tennessee has left at least 22 people dead and dozens of others unaccounted for, local authorities said on Sunday.

The latest: Waverly Chief of Public Safety Grant Gillespie told reporters search-and-rescue were working into the night to find those missing from Saturday's flooding, driven by heavy rainfall.

  • Gillespie noted that with the extreme weather causing internet and phone lines to go down in some places — including the 911 emergency line — rescuers were conducting "old school" work, conducting door-to-door checks.
  • In Waverly, Humphreys County — the town hit hardest by the flooding — hundreds of homes were left uninhabitable, and the waters snapped power lines and "slabs of roadway peeled from the ground," the Tennessean reports.
  • Officials announced an 8 p.m. curfew in Waverly.

By the numbers: 17.02 inches of rain had fallen in the city of McEwen from midnight to just before 10.30p.m. Saturday ET — meaning it "likely broke the all-time 24 hour rainfall record for the state," the NWS tweeted.

The big picture: The National Weather Service issued its most dire flood alert for the affected area on Saturday as relentless heavy rain caused creeks to overflowed amid a "flash flood emergency."

  • The water from the Saturday's flooding has started to recede in some areas, per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: Speaking from the White House Sunday evening, President Biden expressed his "deepest condolences for the sudden and tragic loss of life" due to the flash flooding. 

  • The White House has reached out to the community and stands ready to offer its support, the president added.
  • Waverly Mayor Buddy Frazier told WKRN: "This is the most devastating disaster that we’ve every experienced in this area."

Of note: A UN IPCC report on climate science published earlier this month found that extreme precipitation events, including heavy downpours, are becoming more frequent and severe.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with to reflect the death toll increase and with additional other details throughout.

Go deeper

Oct 12, 2021 - Science

Weather and climate disasters have cost the U.S. over $100 billion in 2021

Piles of debris is all that's left of a restaurant after heavy rain from remnants of Hurricane Ida came through in Manville, New Jersey, on Sept. 7. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Weather and climate disasters in 2021 have killed 538 people in the U.S. and cost over $100 billion, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Why it matters: The first nine months of 2021 saw the largest number of billion-dollar disasters in a calendar year so far, with 2021 on pace for second behind 2020, per the report.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.