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Several Union City residents rescued by boat after flash flooding hits northwestern Tennessee

A Union City, Tennessee man floats some of his belongings from his flooded home in plastic bags toward his truck on Aug. 4.
Hannah Saad
A Union City, Tennessee man floats some of his belongings from his flooded home in plastic bags toward his truck on Aug. 4.

Several Union City, Tennessee residents were evacuated from their homes Friday after flash flooding conditions hit the region.

Others trekked into the floodwaters – at points hitting between people’s waists and armpits – to retrieve possessions from their homes and move items to higher ground.

The Obion County city was one of several communities in northwestern Tennessee and far western Kentucky impacted by flash flooding that resulted after torrential overnight storms. As of Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service office in Memphis estimated that nearly 12 inches of rain fell on Union City overnight.

Anna Lewis was one of several Union City residents who was evacuated from her home. She heard the rain start overnight and, when she woke up Friday morning, she saw the flood water creeping up toward her home.

“The water was coming across the yard and it just kept steadily rising. And so they evacuated us in a boat,” Lewis said.

NWS Memphis called the flooding in the northwestern Tennessee city “catastrophic.” Obion County Mayor Steve Carr said that description is accurate.

“It’s too early to tell the total damages or anything but it’s the worst that I ever remember in my life,” Carr said. “We’ve got areas that have water standing that we’ve never seen before. We’ve got some streets and roads closed – we’ve never had to do that before. So it’s pretty historical.”

Union City established four shelters for affected residents to take refuge from rising flood waters. One of those shelters was Second Baptist Church. Senior Pastor Justin Hiens said, at one point, the church was housing 75 people and some pets.

Hiens said community members and organizations have been helpful in donating supplies to meet immediate needs of flood survivors. For several families, he said the next steps are figuring out where they are going to stay.

“The long term needs will be those families who will be displaced having to find new places to live, replace their possessions,” Hiens said. “After talking with a lot of them, they didn't have any type of renter's insurance and, and so it's going to be a big hit to them.”

WKMS News Director Derek Operle contributed to this article.

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
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