Floodwaters threaten well-to-do Memphis enclave

Posted May 05, 2011, at 9:03 p.m.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mud Island, which juts into the mighty Mississippi, pays homage to the Big Muddy with an elaborate scale model of the river, a museum about its history, and a paddlewheel steamboat that looks like something straight out of “Huckleberry Finn.”

But now Mud Island is getting too much of the Mississippi.

Rising waters practically lapped at the back porches of some of the island’s expensive houses Thursday, and homeowners weighed whether to stay or go.

Up and down Ol’ Man River, from Illinois to Louisiana, thousands faced the same decision as high water kept on rolling down the Mississippi and its tributaries, threatening to swamp communities over the next week or two. The flooding is already breaking high-water records that have stood since the 1930s.

Emergency officials warned that residents may need to leave their homes as the river rises toward an expected crest next Wednesday of 48 feet — about 3 feet higher than on Thursday. The record in Memphis, 48.7 feet, was set in 1937.

 

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