Was a guest at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel when it was evacuated on May 2nd 2010. This is a photo before the flood.

Opryland Vacation turned into Evacuation

I left Portland on May 1st for a vacation with friends. We were suppose to fly into Nashville, TN but had to circle the airport due to weather. We were then diverted to Knoxville. We were allowed to deplane, but got to the gate only to be told that we needed to reboard because the weather had cleared enough to land in Nashville. The landing was bumpy, but we arrived safely. We had reservations at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. My parents had driven from Kentucky to meet me and we walked around taking in how beautiful the hotel was. Our room was located on the first floor in the Cascades part of the hotel. All night it poured rain and we could hear thunder and see lightning. On May 2nd we awoke to pouring rain and more thunder, lightning and hail. We looked up in the atrium and remarked at the amount of water that was pouring down the glass. The power in the hotel flickered several times and then went out completely. We had lunch at a local restaurant. Our server told us that they were closing at 2:30pm due to weather. We went back to the hotel and sat watching the local news, Most of the roads around the hotel and the businesses were closed so we were stuck. At that time the rain total in Nashville was about 15 inches. We went to the lobby and saw a line about a quarter mile long of people trying to check in. Since the power was out, the hotel could not check computers and was checking people in manually. Later, the power came back on. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed, but we were told that three restaurants would be open for dinner with limited menus. We had dinner at the Cascades restaurant, which we later saw photos of. In the photos, the restaurant was under about 10 feet of water. As we were paying for our meal, our server told us we were evacuating to the Presidential Conference room which was on a higher floor than the Cascades section of the hotel. At about 7:30 pm we were told we were being evacuated to McGavock High School. My friend was able to get to our room and put all of our belongings on the beds in hopes that they wouldn't get wet. I asked hotel staff if I could go to my parents room to get their medication and was told I could go, but at my own risk. I got the medication, but was worried about my parents car, which was parked in the parking lot. Once at the school, we were given food and drinks, but blankets and pillows were scarce. Later, I asked friends if they could try get to the hotel and rescue my parents car. They were able to get the car out. Later, an announcement was made that parts of the hotel were under water and that we could not return. On May 3rd we were told that some people were able to get their luggage from the hotel. We went but were turned away and told to return the next day. I departed for PDX this morning, but my friend stayed to try to get our luggage. She went this morning, but was told that our room was flooded and our luggage was contaminated. Later in the morning, the hotel called her to say that since we had put everything on the bed, our stuff had stayed dry. She was able to pick it up. My parents made it back to Kentucky safely and I am back at home in Vancouver. I feel very fortunate. The loss has been devastating to so many people and businesses in Nashville. My thougts go out to them as they try to clean up and put their lives back together.

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lisajo31@comcast.net says ... on Wednesday, May 5 at 7:44 AM

Thank You. It is a relief to be home safely. The whole experience was very surreal while happening. It will be a story that I am sure will be told in my family for years.

CanOrAz says ... on Wednesday, May 5 at 12:22 AM

That was quite a 'vacation' you had there. It is certainly one I'm sure you won't soon forget any time soon. I'm glad you had a chance to visit with your parents and that you, your family, and your belongings survived this ordeal.

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