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Corps of Engineers in Memphis prepares for possible high water in Missouri, assists in Iowa floodfight

Published June 16, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn., June 16, 2008 – Officials at the Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are closely monitoring water levels on the Mississippi River as flood waters that inundated communities north of here make their way down river.

“Engineers in our Hydraulics and Hydrology Branch and Emergency Operations Branch are on top of things – they’re watching the forecasts very closely and are ready to respond if need be,” Col. Thomas Smith, commander of the Corps’ Memphis District said.

“The National Weather Service is forecasting the Mississippi River will crest at 27.0 feet at Memphis on June 26,” said Dave Berretta, chief of the Memphis District’s Hydraulics and Hydrology Branch. “We typically don’t see problems with overbank flooding until the river reaches 34 feet on the Memphis gage.”

Patsy Fletcher is chief of the Corps’ Memphis District Readiness Branch, the office tasked with preparing for and responding to emergency situations.

“I hope to meet with local leaders in Dutchtown, Mo., Wednesday morning (June 18) to make sure they are fully aware of the situation and that we are ready to do everything we can to respond in case flooding becomes a problem there,” she said.

Backwater flooding from the Mississippi River and up through the headwater diversion channel has been a persistent problem for this Bootheel community.

“We’ll be looking at the possibility of constructing a temporary levee at Dutchtown if necessary,” Fletcher said. “The flooding at Dutchtown earlier this spring was caused by heavy rains in the area totaling 13 inches on March 18 and 19. This was a very fast-moving flood of a different kind, and there wasn’t enough time to construct a temporary levee. There was very little we could have done to prevent the flooding that Dutchtown saw in the spring.

Elsewhere, the Memphis District is supporting floodfighting efforts now underway in Iowa.
“We’ve sent one subject matter expert to help with emergency power restoration and another to assist with debris removal,” Fletcher said. “We’ve also sent more than 250,000 sandbags to Iowa for use by floodfighters there.”
For the most current information on river stages and the Memphis District’s planning and response to the current situation, the public can check their Web site at
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Release no. 08-12