Homes, streets, offices flood after storms - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Homes, streets, offices flood after storms

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Flooding was reported across Memphis and the Mid-South as severe weather swept through the area Saturday.

The offices of Memphis' top brass were not immune as flood waters seeped into City Hall.

Early Saturday morning, public work crews got the call that Memphis City Hall was under water.

Storm drains along the Main Street mall and a power failure of a nearby pumping station pushed rainwater into the lobby.

To prevent a repeat if more rain moved through, a truck load of sand was brought in as workers formed an assembly line, filling plastic bags to create a barrier wall of sandbags.

"It's a task," said John Hilliard, Sr., General Services, "but we're all city employees and we all work together as a team."

Emergency crews were stretched tin as weather-related emergencies popped up all over the city.  City employees never expected that one of those emergencies would be at their workplace.

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton called a news conference to let citizens know how the city was responding to the aftermath of the severe weather.

The flooding in downtown and uptown Memphis was not only the result of the heavy rains.  A power outage at one of the city's largest pumping stations was also to blame.

Wharton said some businesses and residents may have experienced some sanitary sewer problems.

"It was complicated even more because that pumping station covers not only rain water but it also covers sanitary," Wharton said, "so to the degree that you've heard some reports of sanitary overflow, that is indeed accurate."

Wharton said the pumping station at Front and Saffrans was back up and running Saturday night.  City officials are watching it closely.

Parts of The MED were closed Saturday morning due to flooding.  The trauma and burn units reopened around 11 a.m.  The hospital was open at full capacity Saturday night.

Emergency officials said all regional hospitals are on severe weather watch.

An Egypt Central woman who depends on an oxygen machine to sleep found flooding throughout her home when she awoke to tornado sirens.

Myrtle Cleveland found water flowing throughout her hallway, bedroom, kitchen and den.

Cleveland's son had to carry her on his back to a neighbor's house to safety from the rising water.

"It was all the way up halfway the front door," Cleveland said.  "I told my son, 'don't unlock that door.  If you do ... all the water is going to rush and we're going to drown and we're not going to get out.'"

Basements quickly flooded in Midtown Memphis as sirens sounded.  Cars were stuck in high water as streets and ditches flooded and spilled over into yards.

Weldon Conard has lived along Tutwiler for 24 years and said he had never had this kind of weather trouble.  His basement had five feet of water in it.

"I think it's done shut my air system down," Conard said.  "I have an electric hot water tank, I had to unplug that.  Everything is off now because I don't want to burn it up.  I could smell it burning this morning."

Conard said his car was also flooded.  He used a coffee can to get the water out.

Between 100 and 150 residents had to be evacuated from the Memphis Mobile City mobile home park when the rain moved through.

People left with what they could carry.  There was property damage but no one was injured during the evacuations.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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