Page last updated at 20:13 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 21:13 UK

Nashville flooding death toll 'likely to rise'


Nashville Mayor Karl Dean: rainfall levels at a record high

Receding floodwater in Nashville, Tennessee, is likely to reveal more dead from weekend rainstorms that have killed at least 29, officials say.

Across the city, streets remain closed, buildings are without power and emergency shelters are packed.

Officials have urged residents to halve their water use amid damage to the city's water supply.

A symphony hall and a legendary country music venue are among the sites to have been damaged.

The record weekend storms have now killed at least 29 people, 19 in Tennessee alone. Six people were killed in Mississippi and four in Kentucky.

'Long recovery'

Tennessee residents took heart as the floodwater began to withdraw Tuesday, but officials fear more dead may be found in the mud left behind.

A submerged car sits in flood waters in Nashville, Tennessee

Your pictures: Tennessee floods

Nashville Fire Chief Kim Lawson told the Associated Press news agency it was likely some bodies would be uncovered in remote areas and in flooded homes.

"We certainly hope that it's not a large number," he added.

Parts of central Nashville and elsewhere were swamped after the Cumberland river, swollen by floodwater, breached its banks on Monday.

"We are looking at a long recovery period," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said at a press conference.

"But at the same time, I want to reassure everyone that Nashville will fully recover and continue to be the great city that it is, a great place to live and a great place to visit."

'Two concert pianos'

"We have had no power since Saturday," Melissa Bell of Bon Acqua, Tennessee, told the BBC.

"We're cooking on camping stoves. Tomorrow we are going to dump all of our ruined food from the freezer.

"Our barn is under water and we have moved our horses onto a higher pasture."

The floodwater inundated the Grand Ole Opry, a music hall considered by many to be the centre of American country music history.

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra has halted performances indefinitely due to extensive flooding damage to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in central Nashville, near the Cumberland river.

"We lost a great deal in the basement - two concert pianos, our organ console - and our kitchen is under water," symphony spokesman Alan Bostick told the Nashville Tennessean newspaper.

The city's water supply was threatened when the floods inundated a water treatment plant. A supermarket chain has pledged to distribute bottled water in Nashville and elsewhere in Tennessee.

More than 13in (33cm) of rain fell on Nashville over two days, almost double the previous rainfall record.

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