Ryan and Rileigh Rigney Tennessee 7 month old twin babies swept away in flash floodings in Tennessee that left 22 dead and at least 50 still missing over the weekend.
‘Things are moving fast, and we are finding people left and right,’ said Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Rob Edwards told the New York Times.
Among the fatalities were 7-month-old twins, identified as Ryan and Riliegh Rigney by grandmother Angie Willeby.
The twins’ grandmother, told NewsChannel5 how the twins were at home with their mother, father and their five-year-old and 19-month-old siblings, when water smashed through their Waverly home on Saturday morning.
Willeby said the children’s parents were trying to escape the rising waters with their four children when Ryan and Rileigh were swept away from their father’s arms. Their bodies were later found after an extensive search, she said.
Victims most impacted were in areas were water rose fastest
Willeby said the two other children were not harmed. The family has set up an online fundraising page to help with funeral expenses.
Read the fundraiser in part, ‘Danielle and Matt lost there 2 beautiful twin babys today the flood took them away … the mother grabbed a tree and the father had the 2 twins the 5 year old and 19 month old and sadly the 2 baby’s left his arms!’
Come Sunday night, just on $22K had been raised.
Many of the missing live in the neighborhoods where the water rose the fastest, Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said during a Sunday press briefing.
The sheriff of the county of about 18,000 people some 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Nashville, Middle Tennessee, said he lost one of his best friends.
‘Today, we really are trying to get a good evaluation and overall picture and the extent of things,’ Sheriff Davis said on Sunday.
Between five and seven of the people still missing are children, and the confirmed dead range in age from ‘children to the elderly,’ Davis said.
17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has issued a State of Emergency for flooding.
On Saturday, small rural towns in the county were pummeled with as much as 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, possibly breaking the state’s previous single-day rainfall record of 13.6 inches recorded in 1982, according to the National Weather Service Nashville.
‘We are working very diligently to identify, photograph, reunite and get some questions answered for families and that kind of thing right now, and that’s really tough, considering our logistics with our phones, with our communications,’ the sheriff explained.
Workers from Tennessee Emergency Management have set up shelters for residents in the towns of Waverly, Dickson and Centerville and a reunification center is open at McEwen High School, officials said.
i know the floods in tennessee just west of nashville will not be everywhere because they were poor communities but my god these places were devastated. 17 inches of rain in 24 hours with no warning. pic.twitter.com/HLfZwDuCkR
— RyneHambright (@RyneHambright) August 22, 2021
Survivors and community survey debris left behind
Close to 50 soldiers from the state’s National Guard were deployed to help with rescue operations.
Davis said a curfew in the county will remain in effect Sunday and asked people to avoid coming into Waverly, one of the hardest-hit towns, unless it was necessary.
‘We’re really getting overwhelmed with love and affection. … We just need to slow down, evaluate,’ he said.
By Sunday, the floodwaters were gone, leaving behind debris from wrecked cars, demolished businesses and homes and a chaotic, tangled mix of the things inside.