NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — President Joe Biden has issued a statement on the deadly flooding in Middle Tennessee.
Sunday afternoon, the President tweeted: "I send my deepest condolences for the sudden and tragic loss of life due to flash flooding in Tennessee. We’ve reached out to the community and will offer any assistance they need in this terrible moment."
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee says the Biden Administration reached out to him about the fatal floods. After initial damage assessments are completed, Governor Lee says he intends to request a federal declaration of emergency for Humphreys County.
President Biden also addressed the devastation in Tennessee during a briefing on Tropical Storm Henri and the evacuation operation in Afghanistan.
"But first, I just was briefed by the FEMA Administrator, who is here with me today -- Ms. Criswell -- about the flash flooding in Waverly, Tennessee, and surrounding areas in Tennessee.
I want to begin by expressing my deepest condolences for the sudden and tragic loss of life due to this flash flood.
I know we’ve reached out to the community and we stand ready to offer them support. I’ve asked the Administrator to speak to Governor Lee of Tennessee right away, and we will offer any assistance they need for this terrible moment."
United States Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn told reporters they will back Governor Lee's request for help.
“We’re going to do everything we can to help support Governor Lee," Senator Hagerty said.
Earlier Sunday, Senators Hagerty and Blackburn took a closer look at the devastation left in Waverly.
"What we saw today was devastation on a level that was absolutely heartbreaking...but we've seen Tennesseans come to aid. I was so touched to see first responders from all over Tennessee," Senator Hagerty said.
Appearing to be inspired by the volunteer spirit, Senator Blackburn encouraged Tennesseans to keep helping their neighbors.
“The needs for Humphreys County are just going to be tremendous ... The volunteer spirit is alive and well today," Senator Blackburn shared.
Over 17 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours in McEwen, breaking Middle Tennessee’s previous record 24-hour rainfall.
At least 18 people died and multiple people remain missing after the historic rainfall this weekend, Waverly authorities confirmed. All of the fatalities are in Humphreys County, with the majority occurring in Waverly. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has confirmed 16 weather-related deaths so far.
*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that at least 21 people were killed in the catastrophic flooding. Waverly Police updated the death toll Tuesday, August 24, to reflect that 18 people died in the floods. The police department said the number of reported deaths went down due to mistakes in counting, including a few people who had died of natural causes.