I am not normally a soap box guy. And I realize that though this flooding of Nashville (a city near and dear to my heart) is tragic, it pales in comparison to the wake of devastation left in the wake of other natural disasters. (Katrina, Haiti, Tsunami) Nonetheless it is a tragic situation that has left many without homes, power, clean water, and much much more. Yet nationally the coverage of this “500 year flood” was minor in comparison with lesser national disasters. I can’t tell you how many times I read, “If it wasn’t for twitter, I wouldn’t have known anything about it.” Thank you Keith Olberman for pointing out that the national coverage of this event has been less than acceptable.
So why should the nation care that the Cumberland river rose to the second highest recorded level in history (sidebar: in 1929 it was recorded to have reached 56 feet. May 2 2010 it was recorded at just under 53 feet. Now that being said it is my humble opinion that May 2 2010 should be considered the record because the Cheatham Lock and Dam was built in the 1950′s and was the only reason that our water stayed below the record level – it took me a while to make sense of how this was a record rainfall but yet not a record water level, till I did a little digging – sidebar over). Why should everyone outside of middle Tennessee care about this event.
1. Nashville’s central location has made it one of the busiest transportation centers in the Mid-South. Today more than 80 miles of interstate highways weave in and out of the city, making Nashville a vital link to every corner of the region. Millions of tons of goods are moved through the city each year via truck by a multitude of motor freight lines serving the area. Nashville has become a regional headquarters for the trucking industry primarily because of its tight, efficient network of accessible interstate highways, its conveniently centralized location, and the fact that approximately 150 local terminals provide easy break-bulk distribution and specialized services for products such as produce (refrigeration), gasoline, and hazardous waste. If any of the major highways around Nashville were compromised structurally it could cripple a number of different industries that depend on the highways through and the industries based here.
2. Health care is one of Nashville’s top industries; according to the Nashville Health Council, the city is known as the nation’s health care center. Twenty-one healthcare companies are based within the city; in total 350 health care companies have operations here. Many service firms specializing in the industry (including accounting, legal, and others) are based in Nashville, including 12 investment and venture capital companies dealing primarily with health care. Health care services companies based in Nashville control more than 2,400 operations outside the city, as well.
3. Country Music (I know I can’t believe I am even talking about it either) – did you know that number one radio format in the nation is Country Radio! Not R&B, Not top 40 – Country! Nashville has left it’s mark across the entire country and a majority of the population with it’s rich history of Country music. Yeah it’s not going to stop or be affected terribly, but the hardworking people of this city have captured the nations heart with the music – it deserves a little attention for the tragedy. Not to mention the economic benefit other cities see from tours that will inevitably put on hold due to equipment damage, studio damages, and the hinderance in travel.
4. Learn from the event. While this may be a once in a lifetime flood, others can still learn from it. Better road design, water runoff, levees, emergency plans, and so much more. If there is anything positive to ever take from a tragedy it is an opportunity to prevent another one like it.
5. The Volunteer Spirit. The one thing that will probably never be completely covered to the proper extent is the massive response to this situation by the people living here and near here. I never understood what it meant to be the Volunteer State until now. Thousands and thousands of people are pledging help and donations – not just in the short term. There is a spirit about the people of Nashville that is unparalleled anywhere else.
Basically when business is affected in Nashville it’s felt in many ways economically around the nation. Thank goodness for social media such as twitter, facebook, and more to get the word out about how bad the situation really is, and how phenomenal the people here are responding.
Data information taken from city-data.com