Thursday, May 5, 2011

Flood Sloshes Over Downtown Landmarks

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Beale Street at Riverside Drive
The rising Mississippi River on Thursday hit the ''holy shit" stage on the gauge as national news organizations took note, police dealt with crowds of sightseers going over the Auction Avenue Bridge, and water lapped over Riverside Drive on to Beale Street and was about to turn Mud Island into Mud islands.

With the river at 46 feet on its way to at least 48 feet next week, the NBC Nightly News on Wednesday featured a segment shot at HarborTown. On Thursday, police kept traffic moving on Island Drive and the Auction Avenue bridge so that residents and customers can still get on the island which is mostly dry in the residential and commercial areas. A dozen houses on the harbor side are flooding and creating a popular photo backdrop for locals, news teams, and visitors.

The western end of Beale Street and Riverside Drive south of Beale were closed to car traffic and there was a pond of water under the pedestrian bridge Thursday morning. The river was less than a foot from lapping over the flood wall on Riverside Drive at Beale Street. Trees on the Arkansas side of the river are beginning to disappear, and Mud Island River Park is likely to be partially flooded, particularly at the southern tip near the flags. Mud Island underneath the Hernando DeSoto Bridge is also flooded or soon to be flooded.

The flood, publicity, and good weather have brought crowds of sightseers downtown on a weekend when there is a show at the Orpheum and a Grizzlies playoff game. Choose your route carefully, and allow plenty of time.


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