MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Emergency officials are keeping a close eye on the Mississippi River water levels as more rain is expected in the next few days.
The river reached flood stage a month earlier than expected.
Nita Jones doesn't live far from the banks of the river. She, along with several other residents, came down near Mud Island to get a closer look at the water.
"It's just amazing and kind of scary, but also fascinating to come and see it," Jones said. "I love that we're on the river. It's a blessing in disguise, but we have to keep an eye on it."
And keeping an eye of it is what Dale Lane and his team are doing at the Shelby County Office of Preparedness.
"We have a GIS mapping software that allows us to project out at least 48 hours in advance based on the levels of the Mississippi River to tell us what homes and businesses will be impacted," Lane said.
The parking lot at the Mississippi River Greenbelt Park is already flooded, and we're still about a week away from the river's expected crest.
Hydrologists with the National Weather Service predict the river will crest at 39 feet.
"The Mississippi River is beautiful but also dangerous, so those around Mississippi Greenbelt Park, stay out of the water. Not only is it dangerous from a current standpoint but also from potential toxins that are in the water," Lane said.
In 2011, historic flooding reached 48 feet prompting President Barack Obama to declare Tennessee and other areas of the Mid-South federal disaster zones.
With record rainfall so far this year, Jones said there's reason for concern.
"If you live near areas that are prone to flooding, make sure you know where you are going to go in case you have to evacuate. Have that evacuation plan ready to go," Lane said.
The Army Corps of Engineers said areas protected by levees will likely be OK.
Their teams will be back out inspecting the river levels Monday.
If you need to report high water creeping up near your home or property, call the Shelby County Office of Preparedness at (901) 222-6700