February’s heavy rainfall in Middle Tennessee, the wettest on record for the month dating back to 1880 according to the National Weather Service, was an extraordinary event due to accumulative rain over several days.
Stones River crested at 18.82 feet at the USGS Gauging Station on the West Fork located at Blanton Drive and high river levels and swift waters remain a concern for anyone using our rivers, streams, and Greenway system. The Parks and Recreation Department closed all trailheads, greenways, and the Walter Hill Park Feb. 20-25. Two areas remain closed: Bridge Ave. at Manson Pike due to damage and Cason Lane and Old Fort Park due to standing water.
“While the West Fork Stones River crested below levels observed during May 2010 flooding,” said Development Services Executive Director Sam Huddleston. “More significant flooding was observed in local drainage systems such as Shores Road, Sulphur Springs, and Todds Lake/Bradyville Pike that often flood as a result of extended periods of rainfall like those experienced this month.”
Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks was notified that State officials and Rutherford County EMA are evaluating a request for federal disaster assistance and is currently determining disaster response costs for Murfreesboro to submit to EMA and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).
Activation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Police Headquarters successfully deployed Public Works crews and MFRD personnel with quick and efficient response to post Road Closings and to notify property residents and homeowners of rising water. The City effectively responded to incidents within the City limits and actively monitored areas on the fringe of City limits in the County such as Shores Road and Royal Glen Subdivision.
The City Streets Division deployed 60 employees on separate 12-hour shifts during the threat. The Parks and Recreation Department assisted with an additional 20 employees Feb. 23. Murfreesboro Fire Rescue utilized on-duty firefighters to monitor water levels in their respective territories and respond to emergencies as needed. The Water Resources Department deployed 16 employees on three shifts, Feb. 23-24, with crews transporting and helping operate pumps in high water areas. MPD also operated with normal police personnel while the EOC was activated.
The following roads in the City limits, for example, were closed Feb. 23-24:
600 Block of Bradyville Pike near Chelsea Place Pond.
Armstrong Valley Road from Veterans Parkway to Thompson Road and between Hwy 99 and Veterans Pkwy.
College Street at Railroad overpass.
Cherry Lane at Siegel Park.
East Overall Creek at Old Salem Road.
St. Andrews from Hwy 99 to Veterans Pkwy.
Wilkinson Pike from Thompson Lane to Willow Oak.
Some areas typically prone to flooding in the past, such as Wilkinson Pike and Thompson Lane, have vastly improved due to recent drainage improvements. Other areas of the City, however, were visibly affected by high water and require infrastructure improvement. One of the worst areas for high water and flooding occurred along St. Andrews Drive. High water affected the Southern Meadows, Kimbro Woods, Meadows at Kimbro Woods and Belle Haven Cove subdivisions. These areas reside in the Spence Creek Watershed and are hampered by undersized culverts that are severely challenged by flash flooding. Public Works crews responded to mitigate flooding by pumping water over the flooded section of St. Andrews Drive.
Another area affected, Bradyville Pike near Chelsea Place Pond, is currently on the list for an $11 million project to elevate the roadway as part of the 2040 Major Transportation Plan. The widening will include curb and gutter for underground drainage and is jointly funded by the City and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).
The Public Works Division is actively looking at ways to mitigate high water in recurring areas of the City through a variety of solutions depending on the problem. “Many of these areas have been on our radar screen for some time and are currently included in projects or are planned in future projects,” said Development Services Director Sam Huddleston. “During the event, we did note some near areas that will be reviewed by our Public Works Engineering and Development Services staff for action, including Armstrong Valley Road, Old Salem Road, and Swamp Leanna Road that are not part of current projects and need additional evaluation.”
“A four-year Stormwater Plan has been underway to evaluate and improve drainage in flood-prone areas of the City,” said Public Works Division Executive Director Chris Griffith. “Funding provided in the Stormwater Capital Improvement Plan will be utilized, as always, to mitigate areas identified during heavy rain events and affected by runoff.”
It is important to note that some residents who continue to live in low-lying areas adjacent to the West Fork Stones River along West Main Street near Bridge Avenue were notified by MFRD personnel as river levels increased. Along the Greenway off West College, MFRD personnel monitored the river levels in anticipation of notification to the residents if river levels increased to threatening levels for residents in that area.
The Public Works Division manages the City’s public road and drainage infrastructure and stresses coordination, cooperation and oversight of the engineering, development and maintenance of streets and other City projects. The Development Services Division is designed to coordinate the physical development of Murfreesboro and to enhance the City’s economic development.
If you live in Rutherford County (including municipalities) and your home sustained flood damage from Feb. 6-26, 2019, due to severe weather, you can report the damage to the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency. Affected residents are urged to call or email the damage information to: Tera Simmons Phone – (615) 898-7764 (Ext. 1) or Email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Murfreesboro is ready to respond in an emergency. The City’s Emergency Management Plan deals with alerts, localized emergencies and city-wide emergencies. The basics of the plan is Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. For more information watch this video https://youtu.be/-J9KFT-5Tr4
Citizens are encouraged to stay aware of weather and emergency conditions. For area-specific alerts, citizens are highly encouraged to sign up with Alert Rutherford, the county’s notification system. For more information please visit www.rcecd911.org/alertrutherford.
Report flooded City streets and high-water areas to the Murfreesboro Street Department at (615)-893-4380.
Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency is the number to call for county roads (615)-898-7764.