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State of Emergency declared in Dyersburg; Southtown flooding and river expected to continue rising

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vehicles make their way across the rising water on South Main Street as many businesses and homes were flooded.
For many West Tennessee residents, the severe weather this weekend is behind them and spring has returned. For others, the real danger came after the storm was over.

Dyersburg Mayor John Holden declared a State of Emergency in Dyersburg early Monday morning, after the Forked Deer River rose seven feet Sunday night.

The flood level of the Forked Deer River is 22 feet, with major flood stage estimated at 29 feet. The river's current level is 27.8 feet and rising. It is expected to crest at 29.6 feet at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, a level not seen since 1937.

It is estimated that 200 structures and 600 residences will be adversely affected by the floodwaters.

First responders began evacuating residents from Southtown on Monday morning, with the Dyersburg Fire Department already performing three water rescue operations in the south Dyersburg district before a 9 a.m. meeting with emergency personnel.

Residents in the Southtown area are being asked to evacuate as soon as possible.

Volunteers gathered on Monday to fill sand bags hoping to keep rising water from entering businesses located in Southtown.
A shelter has been set up by the Red Cross and the Dyer County Baptist Association at First United Methodist Church.

Although officials see no signs of distress in any levees protecting the city from the Forked Deer River, emergency responders in Dyer County have been instructed by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to prepare for the worst. Dyersburg officials are requesting residents in neighborhoods adjacent to the levees to be ready to evacuate if needed.

A TEMA representative at Monday morning's meeting reported that all West Tennessee counties have reported damage-many of them severe damage-and emergency personnel should be proactive and anticipate the worst-case scenario. With such widespread damage, it may be difficult to receive state assistance quickly.

The transportation department of the city and county school systems will loan buses for evacuation and school officials will stay abreast of road conditions and hold students who reside where buses may not be able to travel.

"The river is still coming up," said Ronnie Wilson of the DCS Transportation Department. "We were able to pick students up in Southtown this morning and about an hour later, those roads were covered. In the next few days, there will be roads we will not be able to access. We don't want parents to leave their children at home, expecting the school bus to pick them up and the school bus not be able to make it there. If parents have any doubts about their roads, they should take their children to school themselves."

Parents from affected areas with children attending Holice Powell, Three Oaks or Dyer County High School may pick them up at any time this afternoon.

The city activated the 311 system to contact residents in the affected area, but Emergency Operations Director Mark Grant said that only about 30 percent of residents in that area have wired phones. Emergency responders have begun door-to-door evacuations in the area.

The DFD has begun evacuating homes in the Evansville community, as well.

Around noon on Monday, the city issued a Code Red advisory for homes in Cotton Villa neighborhood due to floodwater. During a Code Red, emergency officials begin home-to-home visits warning residents that water is on the way.

A staging area has been set up at Fire Station No. 1, located at 216 S. Church St., in downtown Dyersburg.

Residents who would like to volunteer time or their boats can go to Fire Station No. 1 and emergency personnel will inform them where help is needed. Those who need sand bags may go to Fire Station No. 1 or the parking lot adjacent to OmniTech.

Residents with questions or concerns are requested to call the city's 311 service.

The Forked Deer River reached its highest recorded level of 30.91 on January 1, 1937. The current flood is expected to match the next highest level, recorded on April 1, 1913.

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My prayers go out to the community and those affected by the flood waters.

-- Posted by clean-n-sober on Mon, May 3, 2010, at 4:19 PM

I am stuck on these images...cannot get them out of my head. My prayers go up for my hometown family.

-- Posted by JERSEY GIRL on Tue, May 4, 2010, at 10:01 PM

My Prayers go out to all whom is effected by this Flooding.

-- Posted by Mamarose3 on Tue, May 4, 2010, at 11:24 PM

my prayers goes out to my family, and all that is affected by the flooding that has taken place, may god bless all of you

-- Posted by sealim on Wed, May 5, 2010, at 12:34 AM

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