Monday, May 9, 2011

Flooding In The News Today, Monday, May 9, 2011

Flooding Update

Hundreds Evacuate As Mississippi Floods


Memphis residents facing severe flooding from fast-rising Mississippi River

Monday, May 9th 2011, 10:53 AM
Caution tape floats in floodwater surrounding a home in Memphis, Tenn.
Jeff Roberson/AP
Caution tape floats in floodwater surrounding a home in Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis was bracing for record flooding Monday as the mighty Mississippi river was expected to crest 14 feet above flood stage - and at a faster pace than officials expected.
"This water that we're seeing coming by is moving 2 million cubic feet per second," Col. Vernie Reichling of the Army Corps of Engineers said earlier. "To use an analogy, in one second that water would fill up a football field 44 feet deep."
The river was at the highest level seen since 1937, when it crested in Memphis at 14.7 feet above flood stage and caused a flood that killed 500 people and swamped 20 million acres of land, Reichling said.
In Downtown Memphis, the river was three miles wide Monday. Normally, it's a half-mile wide.
Water was already marching up Beale Street, the city's famous musical mecca, forcing the evacuation of dozens of nightclubs and homes.
But most of downtown sits on a bluff, so there was no immediate threat to landmarks like the historic Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash got their starts.
Also, the water was not expected to reach Presley's iconic home Graceland, which is farther inland.
The river is "probably the biggest tourist attraction in Memphis," said Scott Umstead, who drove in from the suburbs with his family to watch the unfolding disaster.
Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton told The Early Show on CBS that Mother Nature speeded up the time frame "but fortunately, we're ready for it."

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By Associated Press
Posted May 09, 2011 @ 09:34 AM
Last update May 09, 2011 @ 09:42 AM
The Arkansas highway department says the Interstate 40 bridge over the White River will likely remain closed for days.
The agency says motorists may have to detour around the eastArkansas crossing through Tuesday or Wednesday.
Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Glenn Bolick says the bridge should not sustain damage from the flooding, but the approaches to the span have been under water in both directions since Thursday. Those sections of roadway will need to be inspected before traffic could resume.

New Orleans

Army Corps battles rising Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 9, 2011 11:29 a.m. EDT

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West Memphis awaits river to crest
  • U.S. Corps Army Corps of Engineers opens a spillway to protect New Orleans
  • There's been flooding around Memphis, though levees appear sound, officials say
  • Water is moving at 2 million cubic feet per second there, a Corps official says
  • The river near Memphis is expected to crest at a near-record 14 feet above flood stage
Check out local reports on CNN affiliates WMCWPTYWSIL,KFVSWPSD and WREG. If you're in an affected area, share your story with CNN's iReport.
New Orleans (CNN) -- Waging war against flooding of historic proportions that has already affected thousands of people in eight Midwestern and Southern states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a spillway Monday north of New Orleans in an effort to calm the rising Mississippi River.
A crowd gathered near the entrance to the Bonnet Carre spillway to watch workers using cranes slide open the gates to the flood control system, which was built beginning in 1929 after a devastating flood two years before. The spillway, like another that could be opened next week, is designed to divert floodwater away from New Orleans and slow the raging river to protect the low-lying city.
Upstream in Memphis, Tennessee, residents and authorities anxiously waited for the Mississippi to crest at a near-record 14 feet above flood stage.
And in between, their counterparts in Mississippi and Louisiana continued to prepare for the flooding under the protection of a system of levees and floodgates that Corps' officials said were holding up well considering the unprecedented pressure they are enduring.
"This water that we're seeing coming by is moving 2 million cubic feet per second," said Corps of Engineers' Memphis District commander, Col. Vernie Reichling, of the situation Sunday outside that city. "To use an analogy, in one second that water would fill up a football field 44 feet deep."
That means there's no time to relax, said Col. Ed Fleming, commander of the Corps' New Orleans District.
"There is no doubt that we are stressing the system," he said. "These are historic flows."
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As flooding begins, cities stand prepared

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buy this photoVolunteer Martin Parker, left, is handed sandbags by other volunteers as he loads a Lehi City truck in preparation for potential flooding in the city Thursday, April 5, 2011. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald
  • As flooding begins, cities stand prepared
  • As flooding begins, cities stand prepared
  • As flooding begins, cities stand prepared
  • As flooding begins, cities stand prepared
Flooding begins today.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the Wasatch Front, including Utah County. The good news, if it can be called that, is that though five Utah rivers are expected to exceed flood stage today, all of them are north of Utah County.
Utah Lake is now above what officials call "compromise level," said Greg Beckstrom, deputy public works director for Provo. This means that lakeside farmland property has begun to flood, though damage to homes is not anticipated. At the height of the floods in 1983, Utah Lake was as much as 6 feet above compromise. Right now it is about a half a foot, and Beckstrom said local engineers agree Utah Lake is likely to crest, this month or next, about 2 feet above compromise -- if additional moisture is slow to come. There is good news -- Utah Lake is 2 1/2 feet lower today than it was at this time in 1983....
The Timpanogos Divide monitoring station is now at 160 percent of the seasonal normal for this weekend. Last year on this weekend, the same mountain was at 41 percent of normal.
The Provo River drainage has just a 10 percent chance of topping flood stage this weekend, but the Spanish Fork River "has high potential to produce river flooding," McInerney said. "Rivers are going to run very big," he said, noting that recreation near waterways should now be considered "very dangerous. Stay out."
The level of threat and public concern has not been lost on local cities, many of which report being inundated with phone calls from concerned residents.
The Provo airport is in the area that has already begun to flood, but is protected by a series of berms and a pump station, and no problems are anticipated....
"The 'nightmare' scenario would be another two or three weeks of cool, wet weather, followed by suddenly hot weather, combined with heavy rain storms," he said. "The 'dream' scenario would be at least a couple weeks of dry, warm weather in the 70s and low 80s before it gets hot." This would allow mountain snow to melt slowly instead of suddenly.
"The likely scenario is somewhere in between," he said...
"We are definitely concerned," Allred said. "But I think we don't want to see people panic. We want to be proactive."

Flooding from Blacksmith Fork River on hwy 89-91 near 1700 South

Flooding closes roads in Logan

By Staff and wire reports

Heavy rains have added to melting snowpack, creating flood conditions along the Blacksmith Fork River in Cache County. The National Weather Service says a Flood Warning remains in effect until 12:15 p.m. Tuesday for central Cache County.

The Blacksmith Fork River reached flood stage Sunday morning and flow along the river is forecast to increase further tonight, with the river expected to peak Monday morning near 7.8' or 1150 CFS. Flooding is expected to continue through Tuesday morning.

Several reports of flooding and road closures have been received in the city of Logan. Areas near 600 West and Park Avenue, as well as areas near 1700 South at the Hwy 89/91 intersection have been closed due to flooding. Logan City officials request travelers to avoid these areas.
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By Associated Press
Posted May 09, 2011 @ 09:44 AM

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The heavy rains and extensive flooding across the state of Arkansas have placed a heavy burden on local farmers — particularly those growing rice.
Many farmers either have rice fields several feet under water or can't get a long enough span of time without rain to tend to their crops. Farmers are also in a race against time with the peak season for rice being between the end of March and early May.
"We're behind now and we still have 50 percent of our rice crop to plant," said Brent Griffin, Prairie County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. "It's getting late."
Griffin said once peak planting time is over, the potential for crop yields decreases because of unfavorable planting conditions.
"We are outside of the best time to have a chance to make a maximum yield, so anything planted once it does dry up, it will not make as many bushels as what would have been planted back in April," he said. "This really is critical, and this is just the beginning. We'll see the ramifications for the next 30 to 45 days."
Another problem is that rice, depending on the growth stage it is in, cannot survive under water for an extended period of time, Griffin said...
"All is not lost, but the crop planted must be replanted," he said. "They've basically got to redo it all over again."
Ron Caron, center, pitches some sand bags into a front end loader on Ferry Road in the RM of Cartier in Manitoba Sunday afternoon.

Ron Caron, center, pitches some sand bags into a front end loader on Ferry Road in the RM of Cartier in Manitoba Sunday afternoon.


BRANDON, Man. — Nearly 1,000 homes in Brandon were under mandatory evacuation Monday, with affected residents having a matter of hours to seek safe refuge from potential flooding.

The cautionary move is affecting about 900 households in low-lying areas of the city that may be more susceptible to flooding.

Brandon police are going door-to-door in the area known as "The Flats" informing residents they have to leave their homes by 8 p.m. Monday.

Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst told media Monday morning that while the evacuation is mandatory, it is being done out of caution.

Decter Hirst said affected residents knew this was coming and the evacuation is expected to be orderly.

On Sunday, Canada's military was been dispatched to Manitoba to help battle the record-setting floods, officials said.

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, confirmed Sunday that "our government would be sending the Canadian Armed Forces to provide support at the request of the Manitoba government due to the heavy floods."

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said that up to 200 soldiers — including reservists — could be on the job, battling the floods from Portage la Prairie, Man., to Headingley, Man.

The announcement comes after Brandon city council declared a local state of emergency earlier Sunday to deal with the surging Assiniboine River.

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The lake level Sunday afternoon was down to 102.94 feet above sea level, nearly three feet above the official flood level, and while the fall was indiscernible to the naked eye, it was an improvement over the record 103.2-foot level recorded Friday afternoon.

Conlin recalls high water in 1937, after which her father built a sea-wall in front of the then seasonal house, and 1983 was bad, she said, but “this is a doozy.” ...

Mayor Bob Kiss agreed, saying wind and waves would remain a concern for the foreseeable future.

He said it’s not possible yet to assess how much damage has been done to city property on the lakeshore, but he expects damage at Perkins Pier, in “sea wall areas” and along sections of the bike path.

At Leddy Beach on Sunday, there was no beach, just chilly water lapping up to the wooden steps, and surrounding trees valued by beach-goers in the summer for shade.

“People’s homes have been flooded, and for the next four to six weeks there will be concern about wind and waves,” he said.
St. Albans Bay Park is still under floodwaters on Sunday.
Goff predicted the lake would be down to 102.8 feet by today, and he said flood waters across the region were in “a steady or slowly declining state” Sunday.

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