Mississippi River Still Rising-Evacuation Preparations Underway
People who live and work along the Mississippi River and its tributaries might soon have to seek shelter. An emergency meeting about the potential devastating flood was held this morning at the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency joined local emergency responders for the briefing.
“Now is the time to coordinate our response for the possible flood. The Mississippi River continues to rise. Until the danger passes, emergency support coordinators will remain at the Emergency Operations Center to monitor the river and its tributaries which branch out throughout Shelby County,”
said Bob Nations, Jr., Director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has already declared a State of Emergency as a precautionary move in response to the recent storm damage and potential flooding. MLGW crews are being assisted today by utility crews from Ohio and Illinois as a result of another round of storms last night. Thousands in Shelby County are still without power.
In Millington, Mayor Richard Hodges and his staff are assisting several people who have voluntarily left their homes and businesses.
“City of Millington officials are closely monitoring the weather situation. This is a quickly changing event that requires citizens to remain vigilant. Citizens are urged to watch the local news stations for updates and be prepared to leave at a moments notice,
said Mayor Hodges. The City of Millington has set up an emergency hotline for residents to call for information: (901) 873-5779
Both Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. and City of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr., are staying in close touch with other area mayors. “Our resources are available should the need arise,”
said Mayor Luttrell. “This is a time to be vigilant and be prepared,”
added Mayor Wharton.
Near Millington, Raleigh-Millington Road, just south of Fite Road is blocked for heavy truck traffic. Debris on the Loosahatchie River has threatened bridge supports. Crews from the Shelby County Public Works Department are keeping the debris cleared away.
Four roads in and near Lakeland have been blocked off due to high water: Pleasant Ridge between Stewart and Salem, Old Brunswick at Stewart, New Brunswick south of the Loosahatchie River bridge and Memphis-Arlington east of Chambers Chapel Road.
Hope Presbyterian Church will be coordinating and staffing shelters should they open. “For the past year we have worked closely with the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. We have five buildings identified and hundreds of specially trained church volunteers ready to respond,”
said Dr. Craig Strickland, Senior Pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church.
Throughout the next several days, staff at the Office of Preparedness will receive updates from the Corps of Engineers and other agencies about the water level of the Mississippi River and how it will affect the Loosahatchie River, Nonconnah Creek and Big Creek, areas which threaten many north Shelby County neighborhoods.
Weather service forecasters predict the Mississippi River will crest the weekend of May 8th at 45 feet or possibility higher.
Citizens Need to Prepare Now for Possible Flooding:
1. Know the risks:
Find out your risk of flooding. Visit: www.floodsmart.gov
for more information.
2. Have a Disaster Kit:
Include copies of important documents (insurance, driver's license, property deeds, birth, marriage certificates and tax records). Pack water, non-perishable food, NOAA weather radio, medicine, bedding and food for infants and pets.
3. Make a Plan:
Decide where you will meet if separated. Designate an out-of- state contact. Move valuables to second floors or attics. Know more than one route to and from work and school in case roads become flooded.
4. Stay Informed:
Listen to forecasts with a NOAA weather radio, TV, or ALERT FM.