Flash flooding traps drivers in cars, forces people from homes

(WMC) - Flash flooding trapped people in vehicles and forced people from their homes across Shelby County and other Mid-South areas Thursday.

The Shelby County Mayor's office sent a news release on evacuations. Click here to read it, or scroll down to read about affected areas in the county.

To read about damage in DeSoto County, click here.

To see photos of the flash flooding sent by viewers around the Mid-South, click here.


There was a tremendous effort by emergency officials Thursday morning as they evacuated the flooded area near Mountain Terrace Street and Durham Avenue in Frayser. WMC Action News 5's Jerica Phillips witnessed several rescues and families desperate to get to safety.

Memphis Fire Department dispatched boats to the area.

Memphis firefighters and emergency personnel carried children in their arms to higher ground around 8 a.m. on Thursday. Flood waters exceeded two to three feet, spilling over from a nearby stream. At least 25 homes were directly impacted in this small community off Mt. Terrace. Rescue boats were brought in at one point to assist with evacuations. Many people said this community floods frequently yet they say they're grateful emergency teams worked so quickly.

Carolyn Harris, who lives in the neighborhood said, "I have to commend them because they came in and did a wonderful job. They came in with the boats and they were trying to get people out and like now they have buses to try to get people out if they are going to evacuate. We have someone coming to get us so you know I think they did a really, really good job."

Memphis Light, Gas, and Water cut power to that community Monday morning affecting about 40 homes. Families were asked to seek shelter at Ed Rice Community Center in Frayser.

As streets dried out, houses remained soggy with sewer water Thursday afternoon.

"The sewage ran back up through the tub and the toilets and everything," Harris said.

Nearly two dozen homes here have similar damage.

"I still got water all on the floor, in my door," resident Chris Wilson said. "Little frustrated, but God's still good. It's a small thing to a giant. Everybody's still alive. Nobody was hurt. So we still blessed. We still blessed."

Many who live here in the area evacuated to a shelter or to the homes of friends and family.

Looting is a concern. To try to prevent break-ins, the landlord came and boarded up these homes until people can come home.


Bartlett was another area hit hard by flash flooding Thursday morning including the city's municipal complex.

WMC Action News 5's Anna Marie Hartman saw a car being towed, while Bartlett police helped a driver whose car was waterlogged. Our crews were on Appling Lake Drive, which is the gateway to the Bartlett municipal buildings and at one point the road was under water.

The major problem was at Appling Lake which backed up on the city streets during the heavy downpour. This is where the city holds it's annual fishing rodeo. When WMC crews arrived Appling Lake Drive was closed, but it has since reopened. The threat of flood water is over.

Flooding was a major issue in Bartlett, not only affecting residents, but the officials whose job it is to respond to it. There is still some standing water so drivers will need to proceed with caution since more rain could be on the way.

The Shelby County Mayor's office reports damage to Bartlett high and elementary schools. Click here to read more.

Brunswick and Chaffee roads area

The rain started around 6 a.m. at Brunswick and Chaffee roads on Thursday and continued at a steady pace.

Water came rushing inside the front door of the offices at a storage unit business. The owner and employees worked quickly to get anything that might be in the way.

This is one of about six businesses and about eight homes in the area that are left cleaning up from high flood waters.

People who live there say this is not the first time they've had this issue. WMC Action News 5's Amy Speropoulos was told this area is considered a "flood zone," so most of the people have flood insurance. They still have to deal with clean up.

The road is back open since the rain has stopped and most of the water has receded.

Many say this is not the first time they have experienced water coming in around their businesses and homes, in fact some of them say they do have flood insurance just because of what has happened in the past. As of late Thursday afternoon, they're just busy cleaning up what was left behind from the water.

Early morning reports of flash flooding

At North Parkway and Ayers Street, 13 cars became trapped in water.

Earlier this morning, a van filled with kids was reportedly trapped in water at Austin Peay Highway and Yale Road. A bus carrying kids to school was also reportedly stuck in water at Woodfield Park Road and Raleigh LaGrange Road.

Covington Pike at Yale Road was shut down due to heavy flooding.

Shelby County Schools issued the following statement:

We have received reports of flooding in some of our rural areas. Parents please use caution when driving to schools this morning. We will excuse any weather-related tardies/absences.

DeSoto County Sheriff Rasco says the situation in his county is a weather emergency.

"Just name a place and it is flooded," he said.

If you can safely take a photo of any flooding, email it to my5@wmctv.com or via the free WMC Action News 5 app.

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