Shelby County to see historic flooding in coming days - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County to see historic flooding in coming days

My5: Flooding at a trailer park in North Memphis.  Photo by Gary Cox My5: Flooding at a trailer park in North Memphis. Photo by Gary Cox

(WMC-TV) - The EMA says all Shelby County residents should take flood precautions now and be prepared to leave homes and businesses as the county will see historic flooding in the next 10 days.

>>> For the latest Shelby County flood map, click here <<<

>>> For detailed maps of Shelby County areas that could be impacted, click here<<<

The EMA advised, if you live in a flood-prone area, you should be ready to evacuate.

Shelby County residents are advised to have an emergency bag packed with necessities, including medication, a flashlight, insurance policies and important documents, in case they are forced to evacuate.

According to the National Weather Service, damaging flood waters will likely reach the inside of homes and businesses in areas throughout Shelby County by Sunday night.

"This is the time to gather all necessary and important items and be ready to leave your property," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.  "This is a very real possibility most of Shelby County could be affected by the rising water."

Luttrell is working on disaster plans with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and suburban mayors.

"We want to reassure our citizens that disaster teams are in place and will be doing everything possible to keep everyone safe," said Wharton.

More rain moved through the Mid-South Sunday.  Rivers and creeks are quickly rising in the western area of Shelby County and could back up into nearby neighborhoods.

Flood waters could also rise into neighborhoods through storm drains.

Wharton said they do not want to create a sense of panic.

"We ask from our residents not panic but preparation," said Wharton.  "Not alarm, but being aware."

If water begins to rise, go immediately to higher ground.

Around 3:00 p.m. Sunday, sirens began blaring outside of Hope Presbyterian Church.

A shelter at the church took in 180 people who were flooded out of their homes.  The church quickly told families to move to a hallway in the center of the building.

People stayed in that inner hallway for about 45 minutes, until the tornado warning expired.  The shelter at Hope Presbyterian was at full capacity Sunday night.

Residents are also advised to be ready to take their pets in case of evacuation.  The ASPCA has flown people in from all over America to help with pets displaced by the storms.

Cummings Street Baptist Church at 250 E. Raines Road has set up a shelter for those displaced by flooding.

A Flood Watch 24-Hour Hotline has been established at (901) 324-8799 as well as an email/text option to receive information.  Text questions to: (901) 290-7530 or email them to:

Report flooding to (901) 544-MLGW (6549) or (901) 820-7878 (Quick access codes 1-1-1 (English) or 3-1-1 (Spanish).

For more information from the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, click here.


Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. and members of the Wharton administration surveyed potential flood zones by air Saturday, April 30th.

"Right now, it seems flooding is mostly related to uninhabited areas, but as the waters of the Wolf, the Loosahatchie, and Nonconnah Creek could rise with additional rainfall, we must alert nearby residents to the dangers," said Mayor A C Wharton.

Across the board, city divisions are preparing for flooding conditions, both from the Mississippi and our local rivers, and working in close connection with other agencies such as the Port Authority and the Airport Authority. The Mississippi River is expected to crest sometime between 45 and 48 feet by next weekend.

- The Division of Public Works has installed and supported 16 of the 30 flood gates that are part of the flood wall designed to provide protection, along with the levee system, to the City. The most obvious section of the flood wall is the area behind the Pyramid where a total of four separate flood gates have been installed and supported with plastic, plywood, and sandbags.

- More than 100 Public Works employees – along with 25 volunteers – are filling approximately 50,000 sandbags to support the other 12 flood gates that are being installed based on the current forecast. Public Works hopes to have this accomplished by late Saturday afternoon.

- Drain Maintenance crews are also busy inspecting and servicing the storm drain inlets and drainage systems in areas that are prone to flooding.

- Public Works have installed gates at three of the five major Pumping Stations and placed the pumps in services to mitigate flooding throughout the City. The Stations that are currently in service include Gayoso, Nonconnah, Cypress Creek, and Ensley. The plan is to put the Marble Station in service this weekend to begin pumping there, as well.

- The city's two wastewater treatment plans are designed to handle 400 million gallons of wastewater a day. If the system takes on more water than it can handle, there will be unavoidable overflows in the sewer system in some areas.

- Public Works has drafted a letter to the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC), notifying them of anticipated sanitary system overflows. The belief that the City will bypass the treatment process and release untreated water into the Mississippi River is not an option, considering the expected height of that river. Backflow would essentially occur instead.

- General Services removed transporters were from Tom Lee Park Thursday, April 28th, with the help of MLGW and the Division of Parks.

- Real Estate has been working with MPD and MFD to relocate the training facilities on O.K. Robinson Road, and General Services is monitoring all city facilities in low lying areas.

- Prior to flooding conditions, the Memphis Fire Department is identifying vulnerable fire stations and facilities, preparing a firefighter "callback" strategy to supplement staffing, having planning and evacuation discussions with mobile home park managers, apartment managers, and facilities managers in areas where flooding is imminent, assisting EOC operations, and developing alternative response routes.

- During flooding conditions, the fire department will be prioritizing calls, initiating the callback strategy as necessary, doing rescue and recovery, and assisting the EOC operations.

- In preparation for the upcoming Mississippi River flooding MLGW has made sure that its drinking water system will not be negatively impacted. Jerry Collins of MLGW remarked, "The drinking water system is expected to perform in its normal manner, providing some of the best drinking water in the world."    

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