Waverly continues to recover from catastrophic flooding


WAVERLY, Tennessee (WTVF) – On August 21, a devastating flood changed the community of Waverly forever.

“It was a nice little town at one time,” said Janet, of Ross Farms.

After all that the Town of Waverly has lost, a real sense of community remains.

“It’s a community, when you drive on the road they always beckon you when you drive,” said Dean Duke, owner of WQMV radio at Waverly. “My main job is to take care of the community, that’s what we’ve been trying to do since all of this happened.”

Water poured over the radio station and destroyed all the computers.

Duke said about 40% of homes in the Humphreys County area have been damaged or destroyed by flood waters.

“I looked in front and behind, and it was just a little bit of water collecting,” recalls Judy Simpson, a resident of Waverly. “This guy is taking to the streets saying to everyone, ‘you have to evacuate’.”

Judy and her husband Russell survived the flood by climbing into their attic.

“We sat there for about three hours and if we had been screaming, no one could have heard us,” she said.

A month later, the couple are still working cleaning their home where they have lived for 51 years. “We are doing a little better with each passing day,” said Judy Simpson. “These houses are going to be demolished and there will be very few of them.”

“When I got there on the day of the flood and saw what was going on, I didn’t really realize the magnitude of it,” recalls Janet.

Twenty people were killed in the flood, and those who survived will be changed forever.

“Those who survived are miracles in themselves. I don’t know of any other way to put it,” said Tori Smith, who works at Waverly Cafe. “Here it’s a month later and we still have people mourning over us, and we mourning over them.”

Over the years, flooding has been a constant problem for the community.

“The community can’t easily forget it at all,” said Duke. “In 2010 there was a flood here. They debated for 11 years the best course of action to deal with this type of event and they did not accomplish anything and it cost us 20 lives.”

“People are always going to rise up one way or another. People are somehow going to have a home,” Janet said. “They might need therapy, but they’re going to be fine.”

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