Floods All Over

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-16-2011
Floods All Over
7
Mon, 05-16-2011 - 2:10pm

I was looking at pictures earlier and seein these horrible images from the flooding. Some stand out, especially those that show people packing up their belongings before their homes wash away. So many natural disasters right now, so little resources to go around. Turning on the news anymore is heartbreaking. Is anyone out there in the flood zone? My heart goes out to you and your families.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Mon, 05-16-2011 - 8:25pm

Fingers crossed for all those affected!

 nwtreehugger  

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2002
Mon, 05-16-2011 - 10:16pm

I have a niece in Millington, Tenn. I got a hold of her yesterday. She is fine, but the neighborhoods on either side of her are flooded and it is still raining. She just got her license and opened an



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Tue, 05-17-2011 - 10:00am
Yes it's heartbreaking. :(

 


Photobucket&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2011
Tue, 05-17-2011 - 12:12pm
I've read that the Mississippi was higher than it is today in 1937. Floods come and go, drought comes and goes. Climate changes over time.

People shouldn't build homes or permanent buildings along any area that will regularly flood.

Here is a story about the history of flooding along this river:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/may/17/flood-of-memories/

Billie Beard waited with her family until the floodwaters rose to their doorstep. The door was six steps from the ground, and the family had to take a boat to the train station for the trip from Keiser, Ark., to Memphis.

It was 1937, and Beard's family was among more than 60,000 refugees processed by the Red Cross in Memphis in late January and early February. Most were from Arkansas counties bordering the river.

Like immigrants in their own land, they were processed at Ellis Auditorium in Downtown, then dispatched to 14 refugee centers around the city. Most, including Beard and her family, went to the Mid-South Fairgrounds, where many were housed in the old Shelby County Building.

Beard, 80, was 6 at the time and recalls being assigned to a cot in a crowded cattle barn with her mother and sisters. Her father and brothers were assigned to a separate area in the same building.

Ten years earlier, the flood of 1927 had caused levees to break in more than 100 places, putting farmlands under water up to 30 feet deep and killing more than 200 people in seven states. Levees were higher in 1937, but people still feared the worst.

The river crested in Memphis at 47.8 feet this year. It was almost a foot lower than the 48.7 feet measured in 1937, but the scale of the 1937 flood "brought back poignant memories," says Beard, especially as those downriver face uncertain fates.

In Yazoo City, Miss., Ed Jordan runs a country store that bears a vivid reminder of the 1927 flood. A mark near the front door shows where the water rose to 7 feet inside the store. With better levees, Jordan says, the store escaped flooding in 1937, but he watched Monday as the water rose to within a foot of the roadway in front of the store.

"They're expecting it to crest at 107 feet on Friday. My store sits at 104 feet, so it would put about 3 feet of water inside my store," he said.

Jordan, who also farms 4,500 acres, already has planted cotton, soybeans and corn, and worries that he may have to start over when the water recedes.

Farmers weren't the only ones fearing the worst in 1937. Fred Thompson, 93, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps. The effects of the Depression still lingered, and Thompson was paid $5 a month.

He was assigned to a camp in Adamsville, Tenn., but, as the river rose, he was transferred to Tiptonville near Reelfoot Lake.

"The water was ready to come over the levee," he said.

Thompson worked 10 hours a day, beginning at 7 a.m., filling and carrying sandbags to raise the height of the levee.

"We used so much sand that we would dig holes in the fields that you could put a house in," he said. " It was hard climbing out of the hole with a heavy sandbag. Sandbags on the levee were stacked 4 feet high."

As in 1927, there were breaks in the levee.

"The Army got a barge full of boulders," he said. "We had to roll the boulders off into the break. Water would splash up on us, and the water would freeze on our raincoats."

The cold took its toll on refugees. In Memphis, about 800 caught pneumonia. Beard's brother had pneumonia and her mother came down with meningitis. Beard and her sisters got head lice. She also acquired a lifelong aversion to oatmeal.

"We ate in what the Army people called a mess hall, and they burned the oatmeal," she said. "It was horrible. I can't eat oatmeal to this day."

Mary Jane Monroe, 86, lived in Memphis. Her mother was a public health nurse who tended to refugees.

"The thing she couldn't believe was that many of those people had never seen a grapefruit, oranges or bananas," she said. "They lived in sharecropper areas and had never left their homes."

University of Central Arkansas associate history professor David Welky says refugees, many of them poor sharecroppers, arrived in rags.

"If they had shoes, they were ragtag," he said. "I've seen pictures of people wearing sandbags as clothes."

Welky is author of the forthcoming book, "The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937." In it, he estimates the number of refugees at up to 80,000. Those who came on their own sometimes became prey.

"Shysters set up along the roadways telling people they couldn't bring their livestock in, 'So, sell them to me.' People sold them for pennies on the dollar before crossing the bridge," he said.

Many who left endangered areas later learned their homes did not flood.

In Turrell, Ark., former grocery owner Dino Mengarelli, 83, was 9 when his father moved his grocery items onto countertops and his family to relatives in Memphis.

"Turrell was surrounded by water when we left, but when we came back everything was intact," he said.

Turrell is near the levee; Mengarelli says it was farther west where low-lying farms were underwater.

Beard's family returned to Keiser, Ark., after at least three weeks as refugees in Memphis. Their grandmother got rid of their head lice and her brother recovered from pneumonia, but their mother lost sight in one eye from the meningitis. Water had been at their door before the flood, but they learned it had risen no higher.

Rev. Ira Singleton, 84, a retired Southern Baptist minister, had gotten a new coat for Christmas, but turned it in to a clothing drive for refugees. He sometimes puzzles about living through two major floods in one lifetime and the way that floods, like tornadoes, seem to strike randomly with deadly results.

"All I know is that God is not the author of evil. He allows things to happen, and somehow or another He's going to work it out for good."
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Wed, 05-18-2011 - 8:21am

 


Photobucket&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2011
Fri, 05-20-2011 - 11:08pm

I can understand how at first glance one would think that one should not live in an area that may flood, but the same can be said for an area that is prone to tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, blizzards, hurricanes, and any natural disaster.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Sat, 05-21-2011 - 12:30pm
As someone who has lived their entire life in an area subject to earthquakes - not to forget the occasional volcanic eruption! - I agree. There are many areas where I live that are also subject to flooding...under the right circumstances. Most of the time it's pretty minimal, but occasionally the circumstances combine & we end up with some major flooding. Natural disasters happen - it's sad but we can't control that! I certainly hope that all will be well with you & all the rest who are in the flood path!!

 nwtreehugger