MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 11, 2009 – The Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, initiated a Phase I floodfight at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 9 due to high Mississippi River stages with higher stages forecasted. The area of flooding is located in the northern portion of the Memphis District.
The lands affected by the current high water are located in and around Cairo, Ill., along the west bank of the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to the southern end of the Missouri Bootheel, and along the east bank of the Mississippi River from Cairo, Ill., to the mouth of the Obion River.
Phase I floodfight activities begin when the river gage at Cairo, Ill., reaches 49.0 feet and is forecast to continue rising, or the Cape Girardeau, Mo., gage reaches 38.0 feet and is forecast to continue rising. The river stage at Cairo was 50.6 feet at noon on May 11, with a crest of 51.0 feet expected on Tuesday, May 12. The river stage at Cape Girardeau was 37.4 at noon on May 11, with no significant change expected for the next several days.
During Phase I floodfight activities, Corps of Engineers personnel deploy to the field and monitor all federal flood control works including levees, flood walls and pumping stations.
Corps personnel will continue to monitor rainfall in the Missouri, upper Mississippi and Ohio river basins, and National Weather Service forecasts to determine if Phase II floodfight activation is warranted.
The Corps’ Division headquarters in Vicksburg, Miss, coordinates all floodfight activities in the Lower Mississippi Valley. The Corps’ Emergency Operations Center in Memphis is directing floodfight activities in conjunction with the affected states, levee districts and other local interest groups.
The Federal flood protection works in the Lower Mississippi Valley protect many thousands of homes, millions of lives and vast tracts of fertile cropland. The Memphis District’s flood control system has prevented more than $4.3 billion in flood damages and protected more than five million acres of cropland in the last decade alone.
Release no. 09-12