Mississippi crests in Memphis short of record

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Associated Press

Posted on May 10, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 10 at 8:05 AM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Mississippi River has hit its high point in Memphis, Tenn., so things shouldn't get any worse. But there's still quite a mess to clean up.

The National Weather Service says the river crested early this morning at just under 48 feet, falling short of its all-time record. It's expected to stay close to the level until some time tomorrow.

Meteorologist Bill Borghoff says most of the damage has been done, but it will take weeks for the water to recede. While the flooding is isolated to low-lying neighborhoods, one emergency officials says "it's going to be rather putrid" and expensive to clean up.

President Barack Obama has a disaster area in Tennessee, making five counties eligible for federal aid.

Downstream, residents in the Mississippi Delta are now bracing for their own encounter with the high water. Farmers are building homemade levees to protect their crops while engineers are diverting water into a lake to ease pressure on levees around New Orleans.

One farmer who mowed down his wheat fields to get dirt for levees says he would have lost the crop to flooding anyway. He's hoping the levees protect his home and grain silos, which are holding 200,000 bushels of rice.

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Sound:

<<CUT *122 (05/10/11)>> 00:30 "''

Shirley Smith

The Mississippi River has hit its peak in Memphis, sparing landmarks but forcing hundreds of evacuations. Correspondent Shirley Smith has more.

<<CUT *165 (05/10/11)>> 00:07 "taken care of"

Colonel Vernie Reichling (RYK'-ling)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Vernie Reichling says public safety is the number one concern. COURTESY: CBS' "The Early Show" ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *166 (05/10/11)>> 00:11 "most at risk"

Colonel Vernie Reichling (RYK'-ling)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Vernie Reichling was asked who is likely to have the most problem with flooding in the Memphis area. COURTESY: CBS' "The Early Show" ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *167 (05/10/11)>> 00:04 "Gulf of Mexico"

Colonel Vernie Reichling (RYK'-ling)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Vernie Reichling says there's still a lot of work left to do, even though the Mississippi River reached its crest in the Memphis area. COURTESY: CBS' "The Early Show" ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<GRAPHICSBANK 1107317 (05/09/11)>> 2000x1500

TENNESSEE topographic map highlighted on texture, lettering MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOODING. finished graphic

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Towboat pushes barges down the flood-swollen Mississippi River, Memphis, Tennessee, partial graphic

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United States topographical map with MISSOURI, KENTUCKY, ARKANSAS, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA state boundaries highlighted and part of the Mississippi River marked in red, partial graphic

<<APPHOTO LABAT301 (05/09/11)>>

: Rising Mississippi River waters, held back by a levee, slowly creep toward Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, La.. Monday, May 9, 2011.

<<APPHOTO TNMH102 (05/09/11)>>

: Trash floats by flooded homes on Monday, May 9, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The swollen Mississippi River could crest as early as Monday night.

<<APPHOTO TNDJ110 (05/09/11)>>

: Water from the flooded Mississippi River rises close to the Pyramid in downtown Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 9, 2011.

<<APPHOTO MSRS106 (05/09/11)>>

: One resident of Satartia, Miss., has encircled his home with barriers designed to keep river debris from damaging his house frame Monday, May 9, 2011. The backflow of flood waters from the Mississippi River now mix with those of the Yazoo River to threaten residents of this small rural community.

<<APPHOTO MSRS109 (05/09/11)>>

: Farm lands north of Yazoo City that lie near the Yazoo River begin to go under water Monday, May 9, 2011. Residents and farmers along the Mississippi River and its tributaries race to secure their homes and businesses as much as possible from what is expected to be historic flooding.

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