The impact of major flooding overnight March 27 into March 28 will be felt by many Wilson County residents in the upcoming days and weeks as cleanup and recovery efforts continue throughout the county.
The National Weather Service Nashville office reported a stretch of 7 to 9 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period starting March 27 across Perry, Hickman, southern Davidson, Williamson, Wilson, Smith and Jackson counties from Linden to Gainesboro.
The heavy rainfall was felt in Wilson County, where the National Weather Service Nashville office reported Mt. Juliet received 6.88 inches of rain in the 24-hour period. The rainfall occurred in the midst of several thunderstorms across Middle Tennessee that brought heavy thunder and intense cloud-to-ground lightning in many areas.
The flooding caused major damage to residences, roadways and businesses and other entities in several areas of the county, especially the downtown Lebanon district, where floodwater reached 2 feet.
“We do have a lot of businesses and a lot of families that were impacted. There were several rescue operations that had to take place,” said Hardy, who said those rescued even included a groundhog.
He said a LPD ESU technician saw the groundhog partially submerged in water on the south side of the Square during an assessment of the area.
“An Animal Control officer who was nearby was called over and pulled the groundhog out of the water,” said Hardy, who said the groundhog was taken to higher ground and released.
“We’ve done the best that we can and everybody, as always here in our community, has stepped up and did an amazing job of helping out,” Hardy said.
Hardy showcased the Lebanon Square early Sunday morning and showed several areas of flooding, especially in the southwest corner parking lot, where Town Creek, which runs under the Lebanon Square, overflowed overnight.
Businesses on and around the Square sustained heavy damage due to floodwater reminiscent of the 2010 flood, and caused some to close their doors for business as the workweek began. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reported that 50 businesses in downtown Lebanon were damaged by water from the storm.
“We know it’s a lot of places,” said Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell, who said he met with law enforcement officials at the Lebanon Square around 1 a.m. Sunday morning to start assessing damage. “There was about 2 feet of water in some places on the Square.”
Main Street Mercantile and Creamery owners said the shop would be closed until further notice. Harper’s Book will be closed for the foreseeable future due to flood damage and Edwards Feed owners reported 32 inches of floodwater at its front door overnight and was closed for business Monday, March 29.
Others around the Lebanon Square shared thanks and praise for volunteers who helped with cleanup efforts following the flood online after some spent Sunday clearing out stores in order to being recovery efforts.
“We have the best community! I sit here in tears thankful for each and every person who stopped by, helped, called, texted, gave hugs, gave food and opened their business to help ours. Lebanon is truly the best,” Dreams Boutique owner Jesse Fish said. “It was an incredibly emotional day and we are so thankful to have you as friends. I don’t have a timeline or a game plan, but plan to hit the ground running again [Monday] to be back for y’all ASAP. Right now we are taking each day as it comes. Keep all of my fellow merchants and local families in your prayers.”
The Lebanon Police Department reported several hazardous and impassable roadways as flooded areas became more known Monday, including: South Maple Street in front of the Wilson County Memorial Park; Baddour Parkway , where floodwaters overtook the Lebanon Dog Park and parking lot of Pro Bowl West; East Spring Street, where a van remained stranded in roadway’s high flood waters Sunday morning; Maple Hill Drive; Piedmont Drive; Stroud Drive; Winwood Drive and more.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get through this and work harder to get back to normal. I appreciate everyone out there,” Bell said. “We’ve had a rough several days and thank you for staying safe, and do everything you can to support our city and our people because we all need it right now.”
In Mt. Juliet, Mt. Juliet Police Capt. Tyler Chandler said the only remaining road closures in the city due to flooding Sunday morning were Old Lebanon Dirt Road near Jackson Hollow and Woodridge Place near Clemmons Road and Woodridge Place, as the bridge near Golden Bear Gateway was heavily damaged by floodwater and will be closed for an extended period of time.
Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin said the roadway on Woodridge Place should be repaired by the end of the week.
Chandler said at the peak of Sunday’s flooding, the city saw 15 road closures.
Chandler said officers also responded to and monitored the Valley Center Shopping Center on North Mt. Juliet just north of Stoners Creek that sustained extensive flood damage overnight. The shopping center houses Bargain Hunt, Dollar General, Planet Fitness and more.
The Mt. Juliet Little League also sustained extensive damage as a result of floodwaters. All 13 fields sustained damage that ranged from moved bleachers and collapsed dugouts to extensive sign and fencing damage.
The league has started a GoFundMe for recovery and rebuild efforts, as the league is not city-operated and relies on fees and sponsorships.
Chandler said the agency conducted three home water rescues and 12 vehicular water rescues due to flooding and responded to five non-injury crashes. Chandler said most of the water rescues took place on West Division Street.
“It’ll probably be an historic flood for us and probably for the Nashville area. I don’t know where it ranks, but the meteorologists are going to figure that out,” Chandler said. “Our prayers and our hearts go out to everyone impacted but this. A lot of people are displaced from their homes all over the region, not just in the Mt. Juliet community.”
Wilson County Schools announced Sunday night that schools will be closed on Monday, March 29 because many roads in the county have damage from the weekend storm.
An email sent to parents of district students said, “While water is receding is some areas, it hasn’t decreased in ways that we’d hoped throughout the day. Tomorrow will present another great chance for more receding to occur with dry conditions expected. … Alternate routes to our schools this week will need to be explored for some of our families and our district’s transportation team.”
Also, WeGo officials announced Sunday night that there will be no train service on Monday because of debris along the tracks. A news release from the transportation service said that construction crews are removing the debris from the tracks near Caro Bend Road and Martha Station.