The river stage in this video is at 47.8 feet, inches away from the predicted crest of 48 feet. Video shot from a 14 story building Downtown.
Flooded tributaries are concern in Memphis
May 10, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. • The Mississippi River was approaching levels it has not reached in more than 70 years as it rolled through Memphis on Monday, attracting a festive crowd of spectators to its banks but also sending residents from their homes in some parts of the city as the river shoved its tributaries aside to make way.
By this morning, the river is expected to reach 48 feet, 14 feet above flood stage, said Susan Buchanan of the National Weather Service. It is expected stay at or near that level for several days before receding as the crest moves downriver.
Despite the parade-like atmosphere along the Memphis riverfront, county officials urged residents to take caution, offering the same advice one might give in the presence of a mad dog: keep your distance until it moves on.
"There is a lot of fascination with the mighty Mississippi, but it's a river in rage right now," Bob Nations, the director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, said at a briefing Monday afternoon. "It's a love-hate relationship we have with it."
Nations emphasized that the real flooding concern was not necessarily with the Mississippi itself but with tributaries like the Wolf and Loosahatchie rivers that feed into it. The levees along the river itself were holding up, officials from the Army Corps of Engineers said Monday.
But the tributaries and creeks, deluged with backwater flowing from the Mississippi, are escaping their banks in suburbs and mobile home parks in Memphis and surrounding Shelby County.
Using maps and modeling, county emergency officials estimated that roughly 3,000 properties were likely to be affected by the flooding. And 2,000 more could be affected if the river rises another few feet, city officials said.
Authorities in Memphis have been going door to door for days in flood-prone parts of Shelby County, urging hundreds of residents to move to higher ground. By Monday, about 400 people were staying in three shelters in the area, though others have also left their homes.
"I couldn't see myself being rescued from a rooftop," said Lanette Coleman, who left her home in north Memphis on Friday and was staying in a hotel.
Coleman did not believe her house would flood, but with water starting to pool in parts of her neighborhood, she did not want to be trapped.
As the crest of the river rolls into Memphis, it has begun to recede in other hard-hit areas. Upriver in Tiptonville, Tenn., officials are waiting for the water to come down more so they can check on the estimated 75 homes damaged by flooding.
In Arkansas, where the crest of the White River is slowly moving south, 16 towns have been affected by flooding, said Renee Preslar, a spokeswoman for the state emergency management agency.
The recent flooding has been responsible for at least three deaths in Arkansas, bringing to 18 the toll of people who have died in the state since a wave of storms came through on April 23.
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