In the wake of what has been called one of the most violent and deadly storms in US history, people all over the southeast are working to pick up the pieces of their lives from the wreckage that remains.
Gov. Haslam held two press conferences after surveying the damage from the April 25th storms in Bradley and Hamilton Co., which ultimately led to an April 30th Executive Order allowing relief supplies easier access to the area, and a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which the President signed yesterday.
None of these actions by the Haslam Administration are particularly remarkable. Governors regularly request federal aid in the wake of these disasters. What is interesting is the timeline. The same storm front that caused untold devastation in Tennessee and Alabama, also flattened a town in Arkansas. The result was an immediate declaration of a State of Emergency by the Beebe administration.
While right now may not be the time to ask the Haslam Administration, “why the wait?”, that question does need to eventually be asked (answered above). The damage and devastation in Tennessee was far greater than in Vilonia, AR, which is not to belittle their suffering at all, just to note the overall contrast.
But it’s not over. Just one year since the Nashville floods, as well as flooding that impacted west Tennessee, the Mississippi, Wolf, and Deer rivers are rising again to nearly unprecedented levels, threatening Lake, Dyer, Tipton and Shelby Counties.
Since late last week officials in West Tennessee have been paying close attention to these rivers as well as other tributaries, eyeing the flooding that will likely be the result of the nearly constant rain that over the past month.
Some areas have been told to prepare for evacuations. Millington, TN in northern Shelby County has already started mandatory evacuations. As of yet, there has been no official statement from TEMA regarding any additional evacuations, or precautions in West Tennessee.
According to eyewitness and news accounts, some roadways in Lake County are already underwater, and water levels on Reelfoot lake are rising, putting all of Lake Co. and sections of Obion Co. in the direct line of fire.
Despite this threat, and the knowledge of an impending 50′ crest of the Mississippi River near Tiptonville, no official announcement has been made by the state regarding preparations to evacuate effected citizens.
I’ll be watching throughout the day for more developments upriver.
Here in Shelby Co., the Register of Deeds has a map showing the 100 year and 500 year flood plane. Select the “FEMA Flood Plane” box at the bottom of the page and type in your address to see where you fall in that designation. Folks within the 100 year flood plane have been advised to prepare for evacuations.
With about 1.5″ of additional rain forecast for the Shelby County area over the next two days, and a 45′ crest of the Mississippi river by the 10th, the likelihood of additional evacuations is growing by the hour.
I’ll have more on the flooding situation in West Tennessee as information becomes available. You can stay up to date by keeping an eye on the TEMA website and twitter feed, as well as the Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Management Agency as well as this page at the City of Memphis website.