Flooding in Tennessee has killed 21 people and left another 20 people missing.

(CNN) After heavy flooding swept through Humphreys County in Middle Tennessee, at least 21 people have been confirmed dead, with another 20 still missing, according to local officials.

At a news conference Sunday evening, Grant Gillespie, the police and fire chief of Waverly, Tennessee, said, “We’ve seen tremendous loss of life over the last several days.”

Twenty people were confirmed dead in the flooding on Saturday in Waverly, the county seat, according to a news release from the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency. Another person was found dead in another part of the county.

Officials in the area lowered the number of missing people from 45 to 35. The number was high, according to Gillespie, because the storm knocked down cell coverage, making it impossible for individuals to contact their loved ones. The director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Office stated his agency had confirmed 16 deaths but recognized a disparity with local authorities, citing the state’s validation process as the reason.

“You might notice a mismatch in figures from the sheriff versus our official reports at times, and it’s really just a question of process,” Director Patrick Sheehan explained. “We know there are still a handful of people missing.”

While helping in Waverly, Tennessee, Navy Haley, 14, assists in the removal of things from a home.

Gov. Bill Lee recounted a “tremendous loss of life” in Waverly, with “homes washed off their foundations, cars strewn about the community” in a separate press conference in Nashville.

“It’s a heartbreaking image of loss and heartbreak,” he remarked.

Waverly’s infrastructure, schools, residences, and other facilities were flooded, according to Gillespie, who believes the village would require government assistance to rebuild.

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis told reporters that the town needs “patience and prayers,” and asked that people remain away from the area while authorities continue their search and rescue efforts.

According to the sheriff’s office, a reunion center has opened at McEwen High School, where community members may report missing people. Meanwhile, Humphreys County officials said three shelters have been set up in Waverly, at the Waverly Church of Christ, First Baptist Church, and Compassion Church.

A curfew of 8 p.m. will be in effect until Sunday evening, according to the statement.


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