Mississippi River Forecast Stages Revised UPWARD

UPDATE 8AM Tuesday, photo of the levee being blown at 10pm last night at Birds Point, MO from St. Louis Post-Dispatch via the Wall Street Journal. 

UPDATE 8:45pm.
Here is the 2.5 day rainfall across the region. I’m especially concerned about the White River in east central Arkansas as its watershed has received 8+” of rain and it was already forecast to crest at near record levels.

Click to enlarge.

BULLETIN with UPDATE: The Corps of Engineers has decided to blow the levee at Sikeston, MO  and flood those farmlands to relieve pressure downstream. Even with this action, the Mississippi is now expected to crest at 48′ at Memphis on May 10th. This would tie the 1937 stage!

Memphis updates at the website of the Commercial-Appeal

ORIGINAL POSTING:
Two hydrographs representing revised forecasts taking into account today’s rains:

Click to enlarge hydrographs.

This forecast is for a stunning 3+ ft. crest over the 1937 record crest and the river is predicted to still be rising at the end of the forecast period. More coverage here.

Downstream at Osceola,

Again, the river is still rising at the end of the forecast period.

Bottom line: Due to today’s rains, the Mississippi’s crest is not yet within this forecast period.

The St. Francis and White Rivers in eastern Arkansas will likely have their forecasts raised due to today’s rains. Evacuation orders are now out in Briscoe and Des Arc, Arkansas due to the rapidly rising White River.

In Shelby Co., TN (Memphis’ county), residents near rivers and streams are being advised to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Given the Mississippi’s increasing stage, backflow (where water flows from the Mississippi and backs up smaller rivers that usually flow into the Mississippi) will become a serious problem in these areas (see map).

Map from Shelby Co. emergency management. I have placed arrows
pointing to the forecast areas of backflow flooding in Greater Memphis

For travelers, I-40 and I-55 are currently open in West Memphis, Ark. They may have to close as rivers continue to rise. Please check ahead if you are planning to travel into these areas.

ADDITION:  A comparison of the 1937 and 2011 floods at Cairo, Illinois.

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