I've heard so many questions about flood dangers here that I thought it might be a good idea to bring you all up to date. Memphis is not yet under water, but we're getting there fast. Memphis gauge's flood stage for the Mississippi is 34 feet. Today, the river is at 43.6 feet. Forecasts predict that we will hit 48 feet or higher on May 10th and stay at that level for some time. To put that number in perspective, the highest ever river level in Memphis measured 48.7 feet in 1937. We are uncomfortably close to setting a new record.
Flooding problems are compounded by the number of rivers and streams that wander through the county. Under normal circumstances, they flow right into the Mississippi. But when the mighty river is already in flood, the smaller ones start out lower and find their normal paths completely blocked -- which means they simply back up and overflow their banks. Add to that problem the past seven days of rain which have dumped anywhere from 11 inches (at the airport)to 18 inches just north of I-40. Water has nowhere to go!
Most roads are still dry, and only a few families have been forced from low-lying areas into evacuation centers so far. Our own house sits high and fairly far away from any river or stream that is trying to flow into the Mississippi. Our subdivision has good drainage and several holding basins, so we are not packing up. Nevertheless, we're keeping a close eye on conditions. Here are a few pictures for those of you familiar with the area. You're looking at some of the casinos in Tunica, the I-40 bridge to Arkansas, a drive-in theater, and several playing fields and parks.
One bright spot in all of this has cheered me. As evacuation shelters open, people are being told to bring their pets with them. At each shelter, volunteers from the ASPCA check the animals in and arrange transportation to take them to an emergency shelter of their own, where they will be cared for at no cost until their owners can reclaim them. Maybe we did learn something from Katrina after all!