Memphis on Flood Alert as Mississippi River Threatens Blues District

Residents evacuate flooded areas. (Getty Images)
Residents evacuate flooded areas. (Getty Images)

The Guardian is reporting that the city of Memphis, Tenn., has been put on alert for record flooding as the waters of the Mississippi River reached a historic peak.


Police went door to door to evacuate people from low-lying neighborhoods after forecasters said the river could reach its peak of 48 feet by Monday evening. Heavy winters in the upper Midwest and an extremely wet April — with 600 percent more rain than normal in some Southern states — have turned 2011 into a season of floods along the Mississippi's 2,320-mile route.

In Memphis, the river ran nearly three miles wide on Monday, about six times its usual span, with water lapping at Beale Street, the city's blues district. Rising floodwaters from the Mississippi and its tributaries forced the evacuation of about 1,300 homes. But many of the city's landmarks — including Elvis Presley's Graceland — sit on high ground, and officials vowed to protect them.

"I want to say this: Graceland is safe. And we would charge hell with a water pistol to keep it that way, and I'd be willing to lead the charge," said Bob Nations, director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency.

Other signs of normality remained: FedEx, which is headquartered in Memphis, was not affected, and an NBA playoff game was not called off. City officials said that 370 people were staying in shelters, and more residents could be forced to flee their homes as the waters move on. Forecasters expect the waters to remain at record levels until Thursday, before a gradual fall.

The South is getting slammed by bad weather. Based on the photos coming out of Memphis, folks are definitely evacuating. How ridiculous is it that the director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency appears to have more concern for a dead man's things than the needs of the living? Defending Elvis when the city is being threatened by a natural disaster? In the words of Ed Lover, "C'mon, son!"

Read more at the Guardian.

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