After weeks in which it steadily rose toward historic stages, the Mississippi River began cresting early this morning, National Weather Service officials say.
The river reached 47.85 feet at the Memphis gauge at 2 a.m. and then began dipping ever so slightly. But at 7 a.m., it inched back up to 47.87 feet – its highest level since the record crest of 48.7 feet during the 1937 flood, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
Although the Mississippi has since dropped again, the crest isn’t over and river stages still could fluctuate slightly, said meteorologist Bill Borghoff. “It’s going to meander around that level for the next 24 to 36 hours,” he said. “We’re going to pretty much hold onto the crest for a while.”
The 47.87-foot level, which is nearly 14 feet above flood stage, is slightly below the forecast crest of 48 feet. Officials expect flooding along the river to last until at least the end of the month.
The flooding prompted President Obama to declare Shelby and other counties along the river federal disaster areas, Gov. Bill Haslam announced this morning.