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Investigators search for explanation of sudden rise of water

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WAVERLY, TN (WSMV) - In the wake of the deadly flooding in Humphreys County, law enforcement and flood victims are struggling to understand how the water rose so quickly in such a short amount of time.

“Like a dam broke. It rose quickly. Maybe a dam breaking would be a sudden rush, but it was a quick rise of water in town,” said Grant Gillespie, Waverly’s police and fire chief.

Seventeen inches of rain fell on nearby McEwen on Saturday, but flood victims tell News4 that the waters road alarmingly fast.

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis told News4 Investigates they are looking at a section of land beneath a railroad upstream of the town that may explain the sudden surge.

Railroad maps examined by News4 Investigates show Trace Creek runs underneath CSX railroad tracks.

Members of the swift water rescue team describe during the flooding a large amount of water pooled behind where the creek runs under the railroad.

At some points, members of the swift water rescue said that the earth beneath the railroad collapsed.

A spokesperson for CSX confirmed to News4 Investigates that the company repaired the earth under the railroad after the flooding.

Whether or not that was the source of the huge influx of water has yet to be determined. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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Copyright 2020 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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