Army Corps of Engineers says levees working as designed - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Army Corps of Engineers says levees working as designed

Photo courtesy of My 5 Photo courtesy of My 5

(WMC-TV) - With only days to go before the Mississippi River reaches its highest point, the Army Corps of Engineers guarded its borders Sunday.

"I have 150 engineers out looking at flood walls, levees, pump stations, and working close with our partners to ensure these structures are performing as designed," said Col. Vernie Riechling.

They are confident the levee system will withstand a crest of 48 feet, but the river's tributaries remain a top concern.

"Nonconnah, Wolf Creek and Loosahatchie are going to back up until the river drops below 47 feet," said Riechling.

In Harbor Town, even those whose homes are far from the rising water fear getting stranded on their own island.  A portion of Island Drive, the main artery in and out, has been raised two to three feet.

Sightseeing in Harbor Town has caused a traffic nightmare, and businesses are open but hurting.

"We have had tons of phone calls from people wanting to know if we're actually open or if they can get over the bridge to shop with us," said David Thornton of Miss Cordelia's.

The weekend brought more sightseers downtown to witness what perhaps only their parents or grandparents had seen before.

"It's devastating," said visitor Libby Cain.  "I cannot believe this happened.  I cannot believe that there's this much rain everywhere."

"Seen pictures on TV and on the internet, but to see it live, it's really amazing," said visitor Mary Swatzina.

While it may be amazing, Shelby County Office of Preparedness Director Bob Nations said the river could be potentially dangerous.

"You need to know that if you go into that river, it's a very powerful river," said Nations.

Warm temperatures will ward off more rain in the coming days, but a promising forecast and strong levees do not ensure the threat will end when the river crests.

Meanwhile, Shelby County deputies went door to door Sunday as they put people living at 243 additional addresses on alert.

Those people were not being told they have to evacuate, but were told they could be impacted by floodwaters.

In Dyer County, South Main Street is closed from downtown to Davis Road due to flood.  Passes will be required for residents and business owners to enter the flood area.  They are being issued at the old Dyersburg Water Plant located at 315 South Main.

Nearly 100 houses at Chisholm Lake in Lauderdale County were under water Sunday.  

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said he is seeking federal disaster aid for 15 Tennessee counties battered by storms and flooding, including Lauderdale County.

In Tunica County near Robinsonville, Mississippi, rumors spread that the levee there had been breached.  That is not true.

The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board is constantly monitoring the levee.  Officials said there is no cause for alarm and the levees have not failed.

Extra crews brought in trucks of sand to shore up the levee.  They said they are confident in the stability of the levees and will continue to monitor them 24 hours a day.

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