The Great Memphis Flood of 2011

Memphis Flood 2011 47.19 Beale St (7)

Riverside Drive and Beale Street

Friday,  May 27, the Mississippi River at Memphis dropped below the flood stage of 34 feet for the first time since April 26, 2011.  The picture above was taken at the River’s crest of 47.8 feet, the second highest in recorded history.  The area still has a massive cleanup ahead.  Many homes are total losses, uninhabitable, or face extensive repairs.   Memphis seems to be returning back to normal, as evidenced by the reopening of Tom Lee park, which was inundated 2 weeks ago, for Memphis in May’s final event, the Sunset Symphony.

A few observations about the flood:

Highest praises to Shelby County Office of Preparedness

The Shelby County Office of Preparedness – Homeland Security, Emergency Management Agency, & Urban Area Security Initiative, kept the public informed through the very thorough website, and kept the media up to date with no-nonsense reports on the flooding situation.  While lots of info was out there about conditions, this was THE source for what was happening and for predictions of what would happen.  I fully trust these folks for being able to get us through any kind of disaster.

The National Media

Al Roker of NBC, Diane Sawyer of ABC, the Weather Channel, and all the other national news media seemed to have one thing in common – they wanted to get IN the flood water- and to report the sensational rather than the real.  Al, in his waders at Harbortown pointed out a few flooded and sandbagged buildings, but failed to have the camera swing around 180 degrees to show that 99% of Mud Island was high and dry.  While traffic was impeded by disaster tourists, at Harbortown, as well as the rest of Downtown, it was business as usual.

Social Media

Social Media platforms provided local information to the world. The #memphisflood hashtag was well used and visited on Twitter, with only a few opportunists getting off-subject to promote themselves or their businesses; websites and blogs sprung up; and the world seemed to be clamoring for images  on photo sites like Flickr and video on Youtube.  I had well over 100,000 visits to my Flickr account in a 2 week period, topping out at 16,456 views on May 9; and that is on an account that, before the flood, averaged around 200 views a day.  Once again I have to bring up – not a glamor site, but a stellar source of info.

Many blog posts have been written; and many tweets tweeted.  I am sure that hundreds of thousands of pictures were taken of the flooding here.  Many are indexed on the Web. Here is my Flickr photo set of  images and videos from the flood:

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