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2 Die, 3 Missing in Tennessee Flash Floods

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Flash floods swept cars and trucks off bridges, killing at least two people and leaving three missing Tuesday, emergency officials said.

Swelled by a storm that dropped 4 inches of rain in an hour Monday evening, Shoal Creek carried off mobile homes and small bridges, and it knocked out the city’s water and sewage plants and telephone and electric service. About 115 homes were destroyed or damaged, authorities said.

“When something like that hits, it’s almost as bad as a tornado. There’s no time to prepare,” said Cecil Whaley of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

Country music stations took cellular-phone calls from people waylaid by the flooding and broadcast their names to let their loved ones know they were safe.

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The bodies of W.O. Watters, 74, and Martha Maddox, about 60, were recovered early Tuesday. Watters’ pickup had been swept off a bridge; Maddox’s car was washed off another span.

Two of the missing people were believed to have been in a pickup that stalled on a bridge Monday night. It was knocked into the creek by a small building being carried by the current, Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Hodge said. The truck still was missing late Tuesday.

Shoal Creek rampaged through much of Lawrence County but was fiercest in Lawrenceburg, a city of 10,500 people about 70 miles south of Nashville.

About 100 people fled their homes in Lawrenceburg, where houses were flooded, trees uprooted and parts of streets washed away.

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