The city of Memphis, Tennessee is bracing itself for major flooding as the Mississippi river has continued to rise, and now ever faster approaching an historic peak of 48 feet. This has begun to badly affect low lying areas of the city with some neighborhoods beginning to take in significant amounts of water.
Much of the city of Memphis fortunately stands on high ground including the area which houses, Graceland the former home of Elvis Presley. Some areas are, however, subject to the force of the Mississippi which is currently running at around three miles wide – six times wider than its usual span. The blues district and the famous Beale Street are amongst the areas that have been subject to flooding, although major damage has not be caused at the current time the threat of further storms and heavy rains has led police to call for homes to be evacuated.
Police have begun door to door evacuation in the low lying areas to try and convince people to evacuate as soon as possible, it is thought that 1,300 homes have already in the wider area have already opted to evacuate. Shelters that have been set up in the city are thought to be currently housing 370 residents and this figure is set to rise as forecasters predict that predict that the waters will remain at high levels for days before a possible gradual drop.
The Tennessee area has struggled to cope with a heavy winter and an abnormally wet April, when rain fell at 600% more than normal throughout the southern states; this led to floods in many towns and suburbs along the Mississippi`s 2,320 mile route. This generation have never known floods on this sort of scale and the last time anything was on this level was way back in 1927; if levees fail or there is more rain, 2011`s floods could surpass anything on record.
Residents of Tennessee are now seeing the effects of moving into houses and businesses that are built on flood plains. Scientists and environmentalists have long warned about the dangers of doing such a thing and builders chose to ignore this advice. The years of using levees to channel the Mississippi into smaller and tighter spaces have proved to be a wrong decision and although Army Corps have blasted holes into levees, this as only served to temporarily deter the flooding.