Walking In Memphis - In Record Flood Levels
With the Mississippi River expected to crest at flood levels not seen since the 1930’s, thousands of people from Arkansas and Tennessee are evacuating their homes to escape the rising waters. Several weeks of torrential rain have also forced local wildlife into local residential neighborhoods.
The Mississippi has widened to four times is normal size in downtown New Orleans, with Memphis seeing enough water to flood a football field 44 feet deep in a matter of seconds. As of this writing (5/10/11), the river has risen to a level of 47.6 feet and expected to crest at 48 feet. This would be a level last experienced in 1937, when the river crested at 48.7 feet. The flooding has forced the evacuation of more than 1300 homes in the Memphis area, and nearly 250 more may be required to leave before it’s all over. Over 400 people are currently staying in shelters. The Mississippi has the third largest drainage basin in the world, absorbing 41 percent of the drainage from the 48 contiguous states. It covers more than 1,245,000 square miles.
The flood damage has been particularly bad in Memphis, with entire neighborhoods underwater and vehicles simply swept away. Memphis's Beale Street, known for being the birthplace of blues music, has been inundated with water. Flooding in the city has turned into a tourist attraction for gawkers
and a nightmare for residents. However, music lovers can be reassured that the Elvis compound at Graceland is not currently under threat, according to officials.
The levees are holding for now, but government officials are not taking any chances. Homes that are not in areas protected by the levees are in path of potential flooding. Residents who haven't evacuated are taking precautions by using sand bags. Fearing a breach, some local businesses are tossing out sandbags and replacing them with Tiger Dams, 50 foot by 19 inch cylindrical tubes that can be stacked in a pyramid shape up to 32 feet high and interconnected to form a barrier of virtually infinite length. These dams were also used by BP after last year's Gulf oil spill disaster.
Louisiana is expected on Tuesday to open a spillway northwest of New Orleans to try and ease pressure on stressed levees.
The events along the Mississippi underscore the importance of having a qualified, professional flood cleanup and water damage company on short call. Your local IICRC certified water damage professionals are available 24/7 with a staff of trained technicians, the latest in equipment and gear, as well as a full range of services including water extraction, drying, carpet cleaning, mold removal, and structural repair.
Have their contact information handy now, before the storms and damage come.
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